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Editorial: Exercise your invaluable right to vote

It’s a light, off-year election this year, so who should vote? Right, it’s a trick question. Everyone who’s registered should vote. Citizenship confers rights and obligations, and voting counts in both categories, even when the biggest races aren’t on the ballot.
Our right to vote in a fair election is hardly universal. Even today, many countries hold no elections or rig them to produce a predetermined outcome. Voting is a right we own, and one that is precious.

But it’s also a responsibility. Faith in government can flag when elected officials take office based on the votes of a small share of the electorate. As turnout increases, so does confidence in the system. Winners know better where they stand and so, for that matter, do the losers.

Even in this country, the right wasn’t always universal. It was 100 years ago Monday that women in New York were granted the right to vote. Racial minorities still face obstacles erected by governments in an apparent effort to discourage them from making their voices heard. This is a right that no one should take for granted.

This year’s elections are mainly local. Countywide races in Erie County are for sheriff, comptroller and clerk. Each office’s influence is significant and deserves the attention of voters.

In addition, three statewide questions are on the ballot: whether New York should call a constitutional convention, a question that must be asked every 20 years; whether state officials should forfeit their pensions upon conviction of a felony related to their office; and whether to create of a land bank to allow some municipal projects in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves.

The first, alone, is important enough to prompt every New Yorker to vote. Do it Tuesday. Help your community.

Here is a recap of our endorsements in Tuesday's election:

• Erie County sheriff: Bernie Tolbert.

• Erie County comptroller: Stefan Mychajliw.

• Erie County clerk: Michael Kearns.

• Erie County legislator, District 5: Thomas A. Loughran.

• Erie County legislator, District 8: John Bruso.

• Amherst supervisor: Brian Kulpa.

• State Proposal 1, constitutional convention: Yes.

• State Proposal 2, forfeiture of state pensions on conviction of felony related to public office: Yes.

• State Proposal 3, creating a land bank for the Adirondack and Catskill parks: Yes.

Whether you agree or disagree with our recommendations, please vote.

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