Election Day is more than picking a president


Voters will head to the polls in about a month, but it won’t be just to decide the next president. Many state and federal seats are up for grabs this year, and the decisions we make in the voting booth will have the potential to dramatically impact our lives.

On the ballot in November are candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives as well as the State Assembly and Senate. These are local people who represent us at the top levels of government. Who we put in office there matters, because their job is to advocate for the interests of their constituents — us.

All 435 seats are up in the House of Representatives, and Congress’s makeup determines the tone and effectiveness of the federal government, arguably even more so than the president. Laws start in Congress, and the president’s initiatives often hinge on the support of the House.

The same is true in Albany: State government doesn’t begin and end with the governor. Nothing gets done without the Assembly and Senate. We’ve seen deadlock in the Capitol, but we’ve also seen sustained periods of action. In the past two years, the Legislature has implemented the new property tax cap and has passed the marriage equality act. It determines how much money our local schools and hospitals get. These are huge decisions that affect all of our lives. That’s why it’s important to elect the right people to represent us in Albany.

We encourage voters to become informed about these races for Congress and the State Legislature. Over the next few weeks, the Herald will introduce you to the candidates. You’ll have a chance to read about their positions on a range of issues, and what their priorities will be if they’re elected.

But don’t stop there. Check out the campaign websites and Facebook pages and the candidates’ Twitter feeds. Do your part to be an informed voter in this crucial election.

And on Election Day, don’t forget to vote — for all of these seats, not just for president. It takes U.S. representatives and state legislators to run our governments, and to properly serve the people.