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EDITORIAL: We can do better at polls

York Dispatch

Thumbs up: Congratulations to our newly elected public officials, and a tip of the hat to all the candidates who cared enough about our community to try to make a difference.

A special thank-you goes to all the voters who turned out at the polls.

Thumbs down: Our democracy works only with citizen participation and, unfortunately, far too many stay home on Election Day.

Tuesday's turnout was about 20 percent. That's pretty bad, but not as bad as in 2011, when a lousy 14 percent of voters did their duty.

Our community can do much better — and has, as recently as the 2012 election, when 68 percent of voters participated.

Yes, that was a presidential election year. But Tuesday's election — featuring township supervisor and borough council races, school board contests, and county commissioner and judicial races — probably will affect more York countians on a daily basis than Obama's second term ever has or will.

Thumbs up: When Democrat James Morgan takes the District Court 19-1-02 bench next year, he'll be the first black district judge in York County.

That's according to Morgan — a former York City police officer and retired narcotics agent with the state attorney general's office and two-term city school board member — who scored a decisive victory Tuesday night.

If true — and so far, no one is disputing his claim — we have mixed emotions: We're happy to see Morgan breaking this ground, but we're disturbed it has taken so long.

Thumbs up: The same can be said for Will Collins' promotion to captain in the York City Fire Department this week.

The 56-year-old, who was Firefighter of the Year in 2013, is the first black firefighter in the department promoted to an officer position, Chief David Michaels told the 80-strong crowd gathered this week to witness the promotion ceremony.

"It's moved me," York City Mayor Kim Bracey said, noting the historic nature of Collins' promotion.

"He was appointed to the department at a time when the city saw a need for more minorities and women," she said. "To see this happen — it has come full circle and is a testament to the process."

And it's about time.