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Our view: Many reasons right and left to vote today

(Larry Wright / Cagle Cartoons)

Whether it has been on your radar this summer of glorious weather or not, and whether you feel you know enough about the candidates and the races or not, it is here: primary election day.

Most polling places are open by 7 a.m. All of them must close at 8 p.m. If you don’t know where to vote, go to

And if you don’t know why you should vote, start with it being your duty and your responsibility as a citizen and as a member of your community. We all live here. We all can have a voice about who our leaders should be and the kind of place in which we want to live. No one should let their voice go silent on Election Day.

We can remember instead that voting is a precious privilege. In the early days of our nation, most states allowed only wealthy white men to vote. Over decades, many courageous individuals, most notably women and African Americans, fought hard for and even died to win the right to vote for all of us. Going to the polls is not something to be taken for granted. It’s an opportunity, one denied to citizens in far too many other nations.

And yes, all of this applies to primary elections, too. Maybe it applies especially to today’s primary. Don’t let others pick the candidates who’ll advance to the general election on Nov. 4. Whether voting Republican or Democrat, there are critical decisions to be made today in hotly contested races and with high-quality, well-known candidates. This isn’t your typical ho-hum primary.

Let the pundits be proved wrong for predicting historically low voter turnouts today.

On the Republican side, as one example, five candidates — 16-year Minnesota House veteran Jim Abeler, teacher and entrepreneur David Carlson, investment banker Mike McFadden, veteran and self-proclaimed “boot-strap conservative” Patrick Munro and perennial candidate Ole Savior — vie today for the chance to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Al Franken in November. That’s assuming Franken survives his own primary challenge.

Also on the Republican side, in the race to take on incumbent DFL Gov. Mark Dayton (and his lieutenant governor running mate Tina Smith, assuming they, too, survive a primary challenge), four candidates are lined up. They are businessman Scott Honour (with Karin Housley as his running mate), Hennepin County Commissioner and GOP-endorsed Jeff Johnson (with Bill Kuisle), former House Speaker Kurt Zellers (with Dean Simpson), former lawmaker and House Minority Leader Marty Seifert (with Pam Myhra), and the father-son military-veterans team of Merrill Anderson and Mark Anderson.

On the DFL side, there’s a hot race for state auditor, of all things, pitting well-known incumbent Rebecca Otto against as-well-known Matt Entenza, a former six-term state representative and four-year House minority leader. The winner advances.

Among the nonpartisan contests, the race to replace the resigning Mike Forsman as representative of the 4th District on the St. Louis County Board will be closely watched. Two candidates will advance from a field of three to represent the Iron Range district. The candidates are former real estate agent and community activist Christina Hujanen, longtime Greenwood Township Supervisor Kirsten Reichel and former state Rep. Tom Rukavina.

Those are just highlights of what promises to be a very busy and critical primary election day.

So go. Vote. Be part of it. Let your voice be heard.