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Pioneer Editorial: Cheers and Jeers

Plenty of chances to get informed for election

It seems politics at every level – from the president all the way to down to city council and school board – is dominating discussions from the kitchen table to public forums.

While debates between the Obama-Biden and Romney-Ryan camps are national news, a number of candidate forums are planned locally to help voters with the decision-making process before heading to the polls Nov. 6.

Previously, Lakeland TV, the Pioneer and KAXE combined efforts for legislative debates between District 2 and 5 candidates earlier this month.

Starting today, the League of Women Voters and Citizens for an Informed Electorate each are sponsoring forums at Bemidji City Hall to help candidates define their positions and views.

The forums, open to the public, will be broadcast on local television. Get informed on the candidates and issues to make informed decisions on Election Day.

More absentee voters

An increasing number of voters this year are seeking absentee ballots, which are most often cast by residents who have health issues or will be absent from their precinct on Election Day.

More than 100,000 Minnesotans have asked for absentee ballots this fall, and more than 40 percent have been returned.

Anecdotally, Kay Mack, auditor/treasurer in Beltrami County, said her office also has had a high number of requests. The number is expected to increase as residents cast ballots before heading out to hunt.

For those planning ahead, the absentee ballot periods runs through Nov. 5. In Beltrami County. Voters can cast ballots absentee at the courthouse between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Nov. 3 and until 5 p.m. Nov. 5.

‘Part of the process’

Last week Minnesota’s Secretary of State Mark Ritchie stopped at Bemidji State University for a voter registration rally as a part of an initiative to encourage student participation in the Nov. 6 general election.

“Why should students register? Because it really matters,” Ritchie said. “A bunch of people fought and died for this right and it’s your opportunity to honor them by being part of the process.”

The event was designed to make sure Minnesotans are registered by today’s deadline.

Citizens can still register on Election Day, but registering in advance is a useful and simple way to help casting your ballot simpler next month.