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Whew!

What a year, huh?

The first municipal election after a presidential contest typically sees depressed voter turnout, but after last November a good part of the electorate is probably downright despondent.

For some people, the last thing they want to think about is next week’s election. The loss is still too fresh; the damage that was done to our country is becoming more clear day by day … tweet, by childish, poorly spelled tweet.

But if 2017 taught us anything it’s that every election has consequences. Every single vote matters, whether you bother to cast yours or not.

What’s the worst that could happen if you sit out an election and let others make decisions for you?

Just take a look around.

We often highlight the importance of municipal elections, which typically don’t have a “marquee” match-up.

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While they might not be as high-profile as presidential, congressional or gubernatorial contests, these local races are important because the people we elect are going to make decisions that affect us every day here at home — from setting property tax rates, to choosing the services we use and how much we’ll pay for them, to determining how we educate our children.

This year we’d like to remind voters that their responsibility doesn’t end on Election Day.

After the winners take office, it’s up to all of us to hold them accountable.

They must answer for the actions they take on our behalf, for the actions they fail to take and for how they spend our tax dollars.

They must be transparent in conducting our business, ethical, able to explain and justify their decisions and willing to own up to mistakes made on their watch.

If they fail in any of those areas or fail to hold our public employees to those standards, voters need to replace them in the next election.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen some recent examples of what happens when the public isn’t paying attention, when boards or councils conduct business behind closed doors or when elected officials simply refuse to answer reasonable and fair questions about their conduct.

At best, it keeps the public in the dark, and that’s not how it works in a democracy.

So, brush yourselves off if you need to, vote Tuesday, Nov. 7 — and commit to staying involved for the long haul.

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