Voter turnout

Voters pack into the Winfield Government Center to cast their votes about an hour after polls opened during the 2016 presidential election.

Early voting numbers are up, in some cases way up, in Northwest Indiana as the traditional polls open today for the municipal primary election.

Anyone who hasn't joined the ranks of early voters should follow through on their civic right and duty to vote today.

We all should be encouraged that in Lake County alone, the number of voters casting walk-in early ballots has more than doubled from the same period in 2015.

But it can't end there.

Early voting totals account for a small fraction of all eligible voters in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.

The stakes are high for voters' voices to be heard this year.

The Porter County cities of Portage and Valparaiso will see a new mayor elected in 2019, regardless of the outcome of today's primary election.

Portage is reeling from the scandal of former Mayor James Snyder, who was removed from office in disgrace following a felony bribery conviction earlier this year. Portage must be looking to fresh leadership to heal public trust and move the city forward.

In Valparaiso, incumbent Mayor Jon Costas isn't running for reelection. That city must choose a new mayor who can continue to build on the impressive and transformative development the city has seen in recent years.

In Lake County, Lake Station also must begin the process Tuesday of selecting a new mayor. Incumbent Chris Anderson isn't running for reelection.

And in Gary, incumbent Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson faces opposition from eight other candidates in the Democratic primary. Voters there must decide if financial scandals and a city that continues to crumble in multiple ways are enough to elect a new leader. 

In LaPorte County, Mayor Ron Meer seeks a chance to continue an impressive run of development in Michigan City's lakeshore community.

And in Lake and Porter counties, school districts are relying on voters to approve funds vital to the education of our Region's most important assets — our children.

Voters living in the Hanover Central, River Forest and Duneland school districts all must decide if they want to invest in current and future excellence or allow those districts to fall short on funding from the state formula.

There is so much to motivate a high turnout at the Tuesday polls.

Don't squander your opportunity to make a difference.



Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Assistant Local News Editor Crista Zivanovic and Regional News Editor Sharon Ross.