Countdown to Nov. 4

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 7, 2014

Last week’s debate between the state’s two major candidates for U.S. Senate generated little buzz in the general population. People who watched the televised event heard the same themes Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis have been hammering in their — already — over-abundant TV ads.
But Rowan County voters have plenty to get excited about in the coming weeks. Their choices for the Board of Commissioners, Board of Education and other races are extremely important.
The Post is joining Catawba College and the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce to sponsor two candidate forums in October:
• Tuesday, Oct. 14 — Rowan County Board of Education. Eight candidates are vying for three seats. (Jean Kennedy is running unopposed for the fourth.) The board will be handling multi-million-dollar building projects and advancing the system’s switch to digital learning in years to come. How those and other issues unfold will depend heavily on this election.
• Thursday, Oct. 16 — Board of Commissioners. This history-making race includes three Republicans, two Democrats and three candidates who gathered enough signatures to get their names on the ballot as unaffiliated candidates. If you’re wondering what difference this race makes, here are some items to trigger your memory: support for education, the purchase of the mall, economic development and (this just in) consideration of a county water and sewer system.
Both forums will be held in the Tom Smith Auditorium in Ketner Hall at Catawba College, starting at 6 p.m.
If you have questions you would like moderator Dr. Michael Bitzer of Catawba to consider asking, please email them to or call them in to 704-797-4244. We will pass the questions on to Bitzer to consider.
There are several crucial races not included in these forums — register of deeds, clerk of court, sheriff, state Senate, soil and water supervisor and congressional races. Let’s hope other community groups will step up to give voters a chance to see and hear those candidates side-by-side too.
Meanwhile, make sure you’re registered to vote and up-to-date on your address and precinct. Photo ID won’t be required until 2016. Early voting starts Oct. 23; Election Day is Nov. 4, less than two months away.
As political scientist Larry Sabato has said, “Every election is determined by the people who show up.” Showing up — turnout — is crucial this year. Be sure you show up to cast your ballot and, most important, have firm ideas in your own mind about who will make the best elected leaders. You have the power to make a difference. There’s no debate about that.