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The Editorial Board: Protecting American democracy should be the primary goal this Election Day

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Early voting in New York ended on Sunday. On Tuesday, voters will make their final decisions on local, state and federal races.

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What matters to you today as the 2022 election season reaches its agonizing finish line (barring challenges – legitimate or otherwise)? Is it inflation? Crime? Abortion? Social Security and Medicare? The stability of American democracy? All are wrapped up in this year’s voting, which ends Tuesday with a final opportunity to make sure your voice is heard.

Inflation, of course, is a real issue. Historically, the Federal Reserve has had the greatest influence in taming it, not elected officials. Still, it’s a pocketbook issue that is bound to resonate, whether politicians can make a difference or not.

Crime may be a larger issue elsewhere in the state or country, but in some respects, it’s been overblown, especially as it applies to the state’s bail reform law. New York is, generally speaking, a safe state. But fear – even if overstated – can be a great motivator.

Fear also is a factor as pro-choice voters consider possible federal action against abortion and as Americans look at Republican proposals to make significant changes to Medicare and Social Security at a time when increasing numbers of Americans are relying on them while also straining the programs’ finances.

From a broader perspective, fears of more political violence are in the wind. That arises mainly from the lies about a stolen 2020 presidential election and worries that losing candidates on the right may, without evidence, claim their elections were rigged. Those who promote such falsehoods are leading the country down a dangerous path. Democracies are supposed to be better than that.

Our elections, subject to influences that range from the inspirational to the unholy, are the best option we have to accomplish the No. 1 goal of the Founding Fathers, as laid out in the preamble to the Constitution: forming a more perfect union.

Defining that aim is the trick and, at least in part, that’s what elections are about. But achieving anything worthwhile in so large and diverse a country requires an informed and patriotic electorate, one that understands the fundamental need to protect a democracy that is under assault from people who place higher value on their own priorities.

Vote your conscience on Tuesday, guided by facts.

Here are the election endorsements offered by The News editorial board:

FEDERAL

• U.S. Senator: Charles Schumer

• 23rd Congressional District: Max Della Pia

• 24th Congressional District: Steven Holden

• 26th Congressional District: Brian Higgins

STATE

• Governor: Kathy Hochul

•Attorney General: Letitia James

• State Comptroller: Thomas DiNapoli

• 61st State Senate District: Sean Ryan

• Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act: Yes

LOCAL

• Erie County Clerk: Michael P. Kearns

• Buffalo School Board: Jennifer Mecozzi

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What’s your opinion? Send it to us at lettertoeditor@buffnews.com. Letters should be a maximum of 300 words and must convey an opinion. The column does not print poetry, announcements of community events or thank you letters. A writer or household may appear only once every 30 days. All letters are subject to fact-checking and editing.

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American voters are fractured politically and culturally ahead of Election Day, and they are anxious about where their country is heading — on inflation, abortion, immigration, crime, and much more. They also sense something more fundamental at stake at a time of rising mistrust of institutions and each other: the future of democracy. Some Americans remain hopeful, but a fretful outlook emerges from interviews with more than two dozen Democratic, Republican and unaffiliated voters before Tuesday’s midterm elections — the first since followers of former President Donald Trump tried to halt the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.

All 50 states are hosting midterm elections that will determine the balance of power in Washington and state capitals across the nation. Republicans are predicting a massive red wave as anxious Democrats defend their narrow majorities in Congress while facing one of the worst political environments in recent memory. Democrats hope that a backlash against the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade will save them. But as the party in power, they’re struggling to overcome concerns about the economy, crime and President Joe Biden’s leadership. Even if things run smoothly, it may take days or weeks before the final outcome is known in several key races.

The Democratic Party’s most powerful voices are warning that abortion, Social Security and democracy itself are at risk as they labor to overcome fierce political headwinds over the final weekend of the 2022 campaign. At a rally in Pittsburgh, former President Barack Obama told several hundred voters that “sulking and moping is not an option.” Looking ahead to Election Day on Tuesday, he said, “The only way to save democracy is if we, together, fight for it.” In Philadelphia, President Joe Biden joined Obama at another rally. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump campaigned in southwest Pennsylvania to boost Republicans, calling the U.S. "a country in decline” under Democrats.

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