The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


November 5, 2013

It's your right – exercise it | Today is Election Day; get out and vote

JOHNSTOWN — “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves – and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

– President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Although today’s elections focus mainly on municipal issues, it’s no reason for registered voters to stay home and sit on their collective apathy.

The actual process of voting will only take a few minutes of your day. It is a simple act, because most polling places now offer electronic ballots, but it makes a powerful statement. You are deciding who you consider to be most qualified to lead your city, borough, township or school district in the coming years.

In the city of Johnstown, four nominated candidates and three hopefuls running write-in campaigns are seeking four seats available on City Council. Pete Vizza, Marie Mock, David Vitovich and Nunzio Johncola are the nominated candidates who face challenges from write-in candidates Rose Howarth, Joseph Taranto and Charlene Stanton.

The race for mayor features one nominated candidate, Frank Janakovic, and another, Randy Gajewski, campaigning for a write-in win.

Another hot spot will be the Northern Cambria School District, where three incumbent school board members were ousted in the spring primary.

And two Cambria County judges, President Judge Timothy Creany and Judge Norman Krumenacker, are seeking retention to their respective posts.

In other judicial decisions, voters will cast yes-or-no votes on whether four state appellate judges – Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castile, Justice Max Baer and Superior Court Judges Susan Gantman and Jack Panella – should be retained.

Many meet-the-candidates forums were held where hopefuls were afforded the opportunity to put forth their ideas on how to better their respective townships or boroughs or school districts.

According to a poll by Franklin & Marshall College, only one in four Pennsylvanians (25 percent) believe the state is headed in the right direction. Although voters are not selecting state legislators, leaders on the local level do have an influence in how the state operates.

Voters who think highly enough of their right to vote will not be swayed by the weather, although today will start very cold but warm into the 40s or 50s, according to AccuWeather meteorologist Tom Kimes.

There are many important decisions to be made and there are many good candidates worthy of consideration. We hope that voters have studied the candidates and their platforms and don’t vote for a candidate just because he or she may be a neighbor or friend or has an attractive smile.

And remember, there is plenty of time to vote today. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Don’t take your right to vote for granted.

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