From left, James Morales, Benton County clerk, Debra Bachmeier, a volunteer, and Mike Ramirez, senior deputy in the County Clerk's Office, tally ballots in the elections office at the Benton County Courthouse during last November's general election. Shockingly, another election is coming up in May. 

Ballots for the May 16 election have been sent out, and in Lebanon we have a choice that we haven't had for a number of years: who do we want to serve on the Lebanon Community School Board. 

We're encouraging you to fill out your ballot because off-year elections don't draw the kind of attention such as when a presidential candidate is on the agenda, which is often reflected in lower voter turnout. Take that ballot and drop it off at the Lebanon Public Library, 55 Academy St. or the Linn County Sheriff Lebanon Substation, 2590 South Main St. as it is now too late to mail it. 

Lebanon let's not let a low voter turnout happen; this race is too important. The school board race cuts much closer to home than any statewide or national race. We will be selecting the people who will assume the thankless and unpaid duties of serving on a school board. We owe it to all the candidates to make our voices heard. 

There have been complaints brought against the district, and several people have stepped up to serve. Now we get to choose if we want to keep the same people on the board (while one of the candidates did unofficially drop out, she is still on the ballot so you can certainly still vote for her if you would like). 

Learning the ropes of serving on the board for anyone new who is selected is a steep learning curve as well, and yet we have several people willing to serve. 

These aren't positions that typically serve as springboards to lucrative higher offices in Oregon. A Lebanon school board member did make a jump to a legislative seat, but it's worth remembering that, even after a legally mandated raise in legislators' salaries, those folks aren't working for much more than minimum wage.

A lot of people have worked for many years to make it remarkably easy to register to vote in Oregon. You should take advantage of their good work. 

It would be terrific if the turnout for these off-year elections generated the kind of turnout that we traditionally see in presidential elections. After all, chances are good that you know someone who's on the ballot this May: These are, after all, your friends and neighbors. These are people you know who are pounding on doors to campaign and pounding signs into area yards. 

It seems like the least you could do to repay their efforts is to vote this May.


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