The Ocracoke voting location Nov. 6 is in the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department, rear entrance, on Irvin Garrish Hwy.

A popular refrain by many this year is that this is the most important election in their lifetime.

A large part of this observation is due to what is happening in Washington, D.C., and in Raleigh. Visceral reactions to blatant partisan political views made by pols and individuals on social media may make some stay home.

That does not help.

Yes, the lines are drawn for many, but we believe voters should set aside the personalities of politics and study the issues and candidates on the ballot.

To help with this, we provide nonpartisan information on election issues of particular importance to Ocracoke and Hyde County at large that can be found here.

We include views of the four General Assembly candidates seeking to represent Ocracoke and the larger districts, as well as the candidates running for county commissioner.

These are very important races as both Hyde County government and the state legislature can make decisions that can have major impacts on Ocracoke Island.

And the Ocracoke Observer does have opinions.

We think gerrymandering–drawing voting districts by the party in power to ensure they continue their reign–is wrong. As one commentator said, “This is politicians choosing their voters.”  Are you–the voter in what is supposed to be a democracy–OK with this? 

We cite the late President Ronald Reagan who, in support of the extension of the Voting Rights Act in 1981, said, “For this nation to remain true to its principles, we cannot allow any American’s vote to be denied, diluted or defiled. The right to vote is the crown jewel of American liberties, and we will not see its luster diminished.”

News reports in past elections about groups and individuals seeking to intimidate voters on the other side, which, simply put, is an effort to suppress voting.

Six constitutional amendments for voter approval and several state-wide and local judicial races also are on the ballot. We urge voters to research these judicial candidates as their decisions will have as much of an impact on your daily lives as those of the Legislature. 

We also are appalled with partisan nomination of judges, as was the case with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

On the ballot for the state judicial candidates you will see a (D) or (R) after each judge’s name and not one (U), unaffiliated. The state legislature added this political affiliation.

Selecting judges should not be based on their political party registration. The same is true for those seeking positions on boards of education.

Elected representatives have an obligation to meet and listen to their constituents.

To our knowledge, neither of our General Assembly representatives, Sen. Bill Cook nor Rep. Beverly Boswell, visited Ocracoke in the past two years for a public forum.

To their credit, both state and county candidates in this election have promised to visit Ocracoke and listen to our concerns and some already have. All four county commissioner candidates have agreed to an open forum at 1 p.m. this Saturday (Oct.  20) in the Community Center.

We hope they all keep these promises. For the winners, their promises will go beyond the campaign season.

One recent former state rep Paul Tine of Kitty Hawk did visit Ocracoke many times during his four years in office. At island meetings, he encouraged islanders to contact legislators about their concerns that could impact Ocracoke.

He added, “Be nice.”  Representatives are far more receptive to polite communication than insulting ones.

In modern politics, nothing brings people together more than talking about how far apart they are, wrote Russell Berman in “The Atlantic.”   Many politicians understand this and make use of that observation to gain votes with little concern on how this creates distrust and further divides our society.

Partisan political commentators and millions on social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, also pile on with postings they know are lies and false information.

Be wary of information sites with extreme political views. There is  a cottage industry out there where pseudo reporters are really hired-gun smear merchants.

All Ocracoke residents should have received this booklet on the judicial candidates in their mail boxes.


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