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Our View: Off-year vote important, too

It's often said that voters in local and national elections fail to make up their minds about the candidates and issues until baseball's World Series is complete.

The Boston Red Sox dusted off the Colorado Rockies on Sunday night to complete a four-game sweep of the Fall Classic -- and now there's no excuse for you, a dedicated Sun-Star reader and (hopefully) voter, to dedicate some time to the important local races that are on the ballot a week from today.

While the municipal and school board elections may not have the political sizzle of a presidential election, they do have a profound impact on the place we call home. The decisions made by city councils, for example, can affect us far more acutely than any edicts coming out of Sacramento or Washington, D.C. Anyone who truly cares about Merced and environs should at least pay some attention to the local races, where every vote truly counts.

This year, as in years past, we will be there to provide some guidance.

Sun-Star editors have met with the candidates for select races throughout Merced County -- and the newspaper's editorial endorsements will appear this week.

The endorsement editorial schedule is as follows:

Wednesday: Merced Union High School District, Merced City School District, Atwater Elementary School District.

Thursday: Merced Irrigation District

Friday: Merced City Council

Saturday: Merced mayor

It's important to note that the candidate endorsements are decided by editors and are not in any way tied to reporters' news coverage, which is separate and impartial.

We strongly believe in the editorial endorsement process because it allows us to let our readers know how we feel about the candidates and issues. We follow them closely, so it's only natural for us to tell them, in a reasoned and sensible way, how we feel about those who want to serve the community.

Our voice is just one, though. In the end, it's only the views of the voters that matter. Don't take our word for it -- do your own research. It is our hope that our endorsements will help establish a public debate and compel more to participate in the democratic process that is the envy of the world (and too often taken for granted).

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