The May 21 primary election, in which registered Democrats and registered Republicans choose their parties’ candidates, will give those of us who vote a chance to punch well above our weight, politically speaking. That’s because four out of five registered voters usually fail to vote in May primaries, especially when no national and state offices are at stake.
That’s a shame. The primary elections are the real elections for most local offices. With some exceptions, the November election will be a formality for endorsing done deals. Moreover, local government affects most of us more directly than higher-profile offices. Our local choices affect the quality of our schools, the safety of our streets and the quality of air we breathe.
In November elections I often split my vote across party lines, but this month, as a registered Democrat, I’m glad to see four good candidates for the two Democratic slots for county commissioner. For one of those slots, I’ll vote for Don Travis, who I’ve known for several years as smart, hard-working and honest.
Don retired from the U.S. Army at the rank of lieutenant colonel and now teaches American government at Gettysburg College. He has expertise on how decisions on voting machines can affect election integrity, an issue on which Cumberland County officials must soon make expensive decisions. He cares about the main things local public officials should care about — treating people fairly and spending money carefully.
Don also has experience in county government. That wasn’t in Cumberland County, making his first-time candidacy something of a long shot. But the May 21 primary gives us all a chance to punch above our usual political weight by voting for a smart, hard-working and honest candidate for county commissioner like Don Travis.
Fred D. Baldwin