Editorial: Go vote

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Last November, the United States experienced what many would end up calling one of the more surprising elections in American history. Not only did Donald Trump defeat preferred candidate Hillary Clinton, but he also claimed states in which Clinton was originally favored.

Whether you did or didn’t like the results of that election, it’s clear that the votes mattered. Later, statistics were published explaining that voting numbers were actually far below what was expected.

Well, New Jerseyians, it’s time again. It’s time to vote on Nov. 7. Love him or hate him, Chris Christie is leaving office as New Jersey’s governor. Republican candidate for governor is Kim Guadagno, current lieutenant governor, and Democrat Phil Murphy. Murphy was most notably United States ambassador to Germany from 2009 to 2013.

If you don’t like the two of them, there are a number of third-party candidates running for governor. Gina Rose Genovese is running on the platform of reducing property taxes. Seth Kaper-Dale is running as a member of the Green Party. There’s also Matthew Riccardi of the Constitution Party and Peter Rohrman of the Libertarian Party.

For some, this list might just sound like a bunch of names. But really, these are six different candidates who have the potential to change the direction of New Jersey.

Take the time to look them up. The Asbury Park Press has a simple quiz designed to point users toward a candidate who best suits their political inclinations.

Here are a few quick facts about the main two:

Guadagno says her top platform is lowering middle class property taxes. She chiefly opposes any tax increases, and favors changing the structure of school-funding to be redirected to property tax relief. She favors decriminalization of marijuana but is opposed to recreational legalization.

Murphy’s top platform is starting a New Jersey-run bank, meant to be a lending house for low-interest loans to students, businesses and municipalities. He also aims to transition New Jersey to complete clean energy by 2050. He believes raising taxes on high-income earners is necessary. He wants to reinstate a school funding formula established under Democratic former governor Gov. Jon Corzine. He also believes in the total legalization and taxation of marijuana.

The Whit does not make endorsements, nor do we seek to steer our readers toward any candidate. But we do strongly advocate for participating in this incredible facet of our democracy. There are places in the world where citizens cannot vote, and where women are still prohibited from voting.

So, yes, the United States may have its share of problems. You might love the president or hate him. But elections on “off years” count too. This time, our state is affected big-time.

Smaller elections such as school board members and town officials are almost always on every ballot. This one too. Your local government sometimes is what most affects you. And grassroots movements and big changes often start there.

So vote. Encourage others to do it. Drive a friend home. Send back that absentee ballot. Participate fully in our democracy.

For questions/comments about this editorial, email editor@thewhitonline.com or tweet @TheWhitOnline.

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