EDITORIAL: Cast an informed ballot

Apr. 1—Go vote.

Let's amend that. Go vote, but do so responsibly. Voting should be more than simply showing up and checking a box.

Voting in our representative democracy is a right and a privilege. It is also a responsibility, and it comes with rules and obligations. For example, if you haven't registered, you won't be able to cast a ballot today — you are required to fulfill that obligation in order to vote. You can check your Missouri voter registration status at https://voteroutreach.sos.mo.gov/portal.

Also, you must go to the proper polling place on Election Day, and you must go when the polls are open and present appropriate identification. Jasper and Newton County polling places open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. You can find a Joplin voting district map at www.joplinmo.org/DocumentCenter/View/8718/Voting-Districts-2021?bidId=.

Other responsibilities may not seem so clear cut, but they are essential to fulfilling the civic role required of voters in a republic. Casting a ballot responsibly requires knowing the issues, the candidates and their positions on key issues.

This newspaper can help you with that. The Globe has provided news coverage of the issues on the ballot and has covered the candidates, including publishing Joplin City Council and Joplin School Board candidates' answers to a series of questions over recent weeks. The opinion pages have also included a variety of voices from residents regarding candidates and issues such as the 12-year renewal proposal for Joplin's capital improvement projects sales tax.

Today's elections are county and local, but local issues are the ones that hit home — they affect you and your household personally and immediately. Across the area, residents of our communities will decide questions and elect candidates that will have a direct impact on our daily lives.

Make sure you have a hand in those decisions by weighing the issues. Be informed before you cast your ballot, understand the candidates' positions and make the best choice for you and your family when you go to the polls.

It is vital to go to the polls and participate in this election, though hot-button national issues won't be on the ballot. It is even more important that you do so responsibly, seeking out the information needed to not just check the box, but to check the box you know is right for you because you have the appropriate information.

We urge readers in each of our area communities to take part in the most fundamental process of our representative democracy — casting your ballot for the measures and candidates that you support.