Tune in, Turn on and Turn out

The votes from the June 12 primary have been tallied, and of the three contested races, only one has been decided outright. Voters in Fairfield County will now have to rethink their positions, and their loyalties, and line up for a runoff June 26.

Congratulations, first, to the one clear winner from the June 12 contest, Betty Jo Beckham, Fairfield County’s dedicated Clerk of Court for more than a decade. Congratulations also to her challenger, and to all the candidates on this year’s ballot. Politics can be a dirty business, and political campaigns can and have run the gamut between ruthless and downright slimy. But all indications are that this slate of hopefuls all ran clean, respectful and gentlemanly, or lady-like, campaigns.

We hope that is a trend and not an anomaly.

What we do hope is anomalous are the embarrassingly low turnout numbers on June 12.

Fairfield County, traditionally, has a very impressive track record for voter participation, a testament to the citizens here who care enough and are politically attuned to be involved, even in off-year elections and local primaries. But in this most recent primary, an abysmal 32.31 percent made the effort to contribute to the process. Less than 5,000 ballots were cast in a county of more than 15,000 registered voters.

For the 10,000-plus voters who flaked June 12, the good news is you have a second chance to roll out and do your civic duty. And the importance of the two remaining races cannot be overstated. With no Republican challenger, next week’s runoff will decide who will sit as the county’s top law enforcement officer, a position more voters should take more seriously.

The Democratic nominee for the District 41 seat in the State House, on the other hand, will face a challenger in November, and voters should take into serious consideration just which of the remaining two candidates not only best represent them, but also has the best opportunity to best that challenger in the general election.

As has been written here in these pages previously, “Participation matters,” and never was that more true than with the upcoming runoff. And a meager 32.31 percent simply will not get the job done.