Our Opinion: Those who vote chart course for city, state, nation | The Wilson Times
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EDITORIAL

Our Opinion: Those who vote chart course for city, state, nation

Posted on May 16, 2022

OpinionEditorials

Dave DiFilippo cartoon

THUMBS UP to all Wilson County residents voting in Tuesday’s elections, whether they will cast ballots in their assigned precincts or took advantage of the two-week early voting period. If you’re an eligible registered voter, we hope this includes you.

It’s easy to allow nearly perpetual political campaigns, multimillion-dollar special interest contributions and ominous attack ads to leave a bad taste in our mouths, making us less likely to participate in elections. Wilson residents must resist that cynicism. Your vote counts, and in packed primaries, it matters more than ever.

If the leading candidate in a crowded primary field receives less than 30% of the vote, state elections officials will be forced to hold a runoff election for that contest. Your one vote or your family’s several votes could help make the difference between a clean win for the highest vote-getter and a 29.9% plurality resulting in a runoff.

Eight Republicans and four Democrats are in the running for North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. The parties’ U.S. Senate primaries also feature crowded fields.

Four seats on the Wilson City Council are up for grabs, and all registered voters in Districts 3,5, 6 and 7 should help choose who will represent them for the next four years. Participation has historically been lackluster, and it remains to be seen whether moving the municipal contest from November 2021 to May 2022 due to a delay in census results required to tweak the voting districts’ boundaries will help or hurt turnout.

The last time these seats appeared on the ballot in November 2017, margins of victory were 186 votes in District 3, 200 votes in District 5, 127 votes in District 6 and 182 votes in District 7. Many City Council races have been closer. The communities and groups that mobilize their voters can have an outsize impact.

To confirm that you’re registered to vote and find your precinct polling place, visit https://vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup/.

Unaffiliated voters can participate in either the Democratic or Republican primary, while those affiliated with either party can only vote in their partisan nominating contest. Since the City Council races are nonpartisan, they will appear on all ballots for those respective districts.

After the polls close, visit WilsonTimes.com or check our Facebook page throughout the evening for election results. If you’re reading this, we hope you will be counted among the Wilson County voters who took the time to weigh in on their local, state and federal representation.

THUMBS DOWN to troubling increases in child deaths recorded in 2020 and included in a recent N.C. Child Fatality Task Force report. Cumulatively, the number of homicide and suicide deaths more than doubled in the last decade.

State figures show 92 victims ages 1-17 died by homicide that year, making it the leading cause of death for North Carolina children. Suicide claimed 56 lives, accounting for the fourth highest cause of death.

An infant mortality rate of 6.9 per 1,000 births is high enough to saddle our state with the eighth highest proportion of infant deaths in the country. The report says 152 babies died of prematurity and low birth weight and another 146 died from congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities.

The task force recommends devoting more money to educational programs designed to solve these problems, including infant sleep safety, gun safety and maternal and infant health initiatives. Exploring these interventions should be a top priority for the General Assembly when it reconvenes Wednesday.

THUMBS UP to 255 new Barton College alumni who turned their tassels and collected their diplomas during the college’s 120th commencement exercises on Saturday.

Barton cheered its graduates under clear skies as rain in the forecast held off, increasing attendance and prompting college employees to add 500 seats to the neat rows of folding chairs set up on center campus.

N.C. Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette fondly recalled his days as a Bulldog in his commencement address, and selecting a cabinet-level state leader to salute the class of 2022 speaks well of the career opportunities a Barton degree can help unlock.

“You have to accept challenge,” Boyette told the grads. “You have to run with it and have fun. And continue to have fun. Challenge yourself, but enjoy what you’re doing.”

Barton’s 255 graduates hail from 135 cities, 23 states and eight countries. Those figures show the small private college in the heart of Wilson makes an indelible mark in our home state of North Carolina, throughout the United States and even around the globe.

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