Although most of us don't need reminding, today is Election Day, and we urge all those who haven't yet voted to go to the polls.
To help you prepare, we offer a list of our recommendations on local races and ballot questions. Our goal with these recommendations is to offer you an informed opinion, based on our year-round coverage of issues affecting Beaufort County and the region; answers to our candidate questionnaire; and our interviews with each of the candidates we considered. We weigh the records and qualifications of the people asking for your vote, as well as their positions on key issues.
On the ballot questions, we look to news coverage and our prior editorial positions on the issues to recommend the vote we think is in the long-term interest of our communities.
Whether you agree or disagree with the positions we've taken, we hope you'll exercise the most fundamental right in our democracy -- the right to vote. Here are our recommendations:
Congressional District 1: Tim Scott.
Hilton Head Town Council: Ward 1, Marc Grant; Ward 3, Lee Edwards; Ward 6, Jim Collett.
Beaufort City Council: George O'Kelley and Pete Palmer.
Beaufort County Council District 7: Forrest "Dan" Duryea.
Beaufort County Board of Education: District 3, Fred Washington Jr.; District 4, Brian Herrmann; District 5, Geri Kinton; District 6, Bert Walker; District 8, Mary Cordray; District 11, Reid Eikner.
State constitutional ballot Amendment 1: "Yes" to requiring the governor and lieutenant governor to run on the same ticket. The lieutenant governor would no longer preside over the Senate.
Countywide referendum, form of government: "Yes" to change the form of county government to the council-manager form to allow the appointment of the county treasurer and auditor.
Countywide referendum, Rural and Critical Lands Program: "Yes" to allow Beaufort County to borrow up to $25 million for the conservation program.
To read our full editorials on the races and the ballot questions, go to islandpacket.com/election.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The most crowded times are often before and after work hours. If your schedule allows, go between 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Remember, if you're standing in line to vote at 7 p.m., you will get to vote. Don't give up.
Be prepared for a wait; take a book or magazine with you.
Be prepared to vote. Study the sample ballots available before you go to the polls. Make up your mind ahead of time on the state and county ballot questions. Ballot questions, even with the accompanying explanations, can be confusing. Unprepared voters can lead to longer lines at the polls.
Look at your voter registration card to see what precinct you are in. If you don't have your card, you can check the information online at www.bcgov.net/departments/Community-Services/voter-registration-and-elec.... Click on the big "Vote" button at the bottom of the page. Use the information to double-check your polling place and to find out what state House and Senate districts you live in and your County Council and school board districts.
Know that if you vote a straight-party ticket only, you won't cast a vote in nonpartisan elections or races with a petition candidate. That includes the Beaufort County Council District 7 race and the Hilton Head Town Council, Beaufort City Council and Beaufort County school board races. You can vote a straight-party ticket and vote in the nonpartisan races on the ballot, but you must go to that part of the ballot to do it.
Most importantly, don't let inconvenience or rainy weather keep you from the polls. Remember, every vote counts.