This year's general election might not have all of the luster of last November's, but that doesn't mean it isn't important.
It's an off-year election, one in which there are no candidates on the state or federal level to choose among on the ballot. That said, it's important to remember that there are many other issues which really strike close to home.
Voters in Steubenville, for instance, will have the opportunity to choose from among three candidates for the mayor's post. While largely a post with ceremonial duties, the mayor, under the current city charter, can be called upon to server as city manager.
That has been the case since spring, when City Council and former City Manager Cathy Davison parted ways, a decision which meant longtime Mayor Domenick Mucci would take on both jobs.
Mucci, who has served as mayor since 1993, is being challenged by Republican Lou Arrico and Dawud Abdullah, who is running as a write-in candidate.
Other communities that will have contested mayor's races include Adena, where voters will choose between Carol A. Bednar and Justin Dudzik, and Tiltonsville, which has a three-person race among Kristine Prati, Jason Staskey and Joseph T. Zeroski.
Seats on village councils as well as township trustee boards also will be decided Tuesday, with some interesting races shaping up. In Wintersville, for instance, five candidates are vying for the four open seats on village council, while in Mingo Junction, four candidates are seeking two spots. Knox Township arguably has the most wide-open trustee race, meanwhile, with five candidates - including a write-in - seeking two spots.
School boards are shaping as real battlegrounds in Jefferson County.
Six candidates are seeking the two seats up for grabs on the Indian Creek Local Board of Education, while 12 candidates are vying for the three available seats in Buckeye Local.
Voters in the Edison Local and Jefferson County Joint Vocational School districts are being asked once again to approve levies. The 5.9-mill additional levy in Edison will be for a five-year period and will cover current expenses. The JVS, meanwhile, is seeking approval of an additional 1 mill for seven years that will cover current expenses, equipment purchase and building improvements.
While there are robust races in some parts of the county, it's sad to note that some ballot spots in other parts of the county have been left unfilled.
In Bloomingdale, for example, only one candidate is listed for village council, with four spots open for election. That's the same situation Amsterdam and Smithfield find themselves in. In New Alexandria and Richmond, meanwhile, only three candidates are listed on the ballot for the four open spots in each community.
The reasons why people choose not to get involved in local politics are many, and the hope here is that, in the future, more people will choose to step up and make a difference in their communities.
While the battle for governor, for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate as well as state Legislatures and the seat in the White House seem to draw the most attention when elections roll around, it's important to note that off-year elections, such as the one we are conducting Tuesday, offer residents the chance to make decisions about those things that most directly affect them on the local level, in their towns, their school districts and, in some cases, their neighborhoods.
If you're registered, vote Tuesday, and let your voice be heard.
(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)