You might not care much about elections for offices like the county clerk or the county commission. You might not really care about the state legislature; maybe you’re a little interested in Congress, or the U.S. Senate.

You might care even less about primary elections, held in the dog days of summer, for those offices. Primaries are confusing, since you only get to vote for one party, and the rules about switching parties and registering have moved around over the years.

We can understand that. But if you’ve paid any attention at all during the coronavirus pandemic, you’ve gotten a real-world lesson in the importance of elections that might otherwise seem meaningless. So, to be blunt: Get informed, and go vote.

The election is Tuesday. It’s a primary.

What’s your opinion on requiring masks in public? Those decisions are made by county commissioners. Those people also hire and fire the head of the health department, who has substantial powers over people’s lives in a pandemic.

Two of the county commission incumbents have opponents in the Republican primary in Riley County. Decisions about a statewide school reopening date were made by the state school board; the incumbent Republican is unopposed, although we should note that a longtime Manhattan school board member, Dave Colburn, is trying to get enough write-in votes as a Democrat to appear on the general election ballot.

What did you think about the way the Congress handled impeachment? The seat for our representative and one of our senators is up for grabs. Our current member of Congress, Roger Marshall, is running for the Senate in a crowded Republican primary. Whoever wins that primary is highly likely to win the general election.

This is to say nothing of the City Commission and the school board, who have also been given power to make major decisions, such as the start date of schools and a citywide mask requirement. But let’s be clear: Those offices aren’t up for election right now. They’ll come around a year from November.

Elsewhere in today’s Mercury is a voter’s guide to this primary. We encourage you to read it. You ought to make an informed decision, and you ought to take the time to vote on Tuesday.

These elections matter. They matter more than you think. At some point, in some crisis, they might make a major difference in your life.

You might think you don’t care right now. But before long, you might care a great deal. This is your chance to do something, directly.

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