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Our view: Your vote

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This is the last day, readers, that we will urge you to perform your patriotic duty, to carry out your defense of American democracy and liberty, by exercising your right to vote. If you haven’t yet, today is your last chance to register your will for our future governance — for at least another couple of years. Polls in North Carolina will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. First come, first served. Get out there.

Though we’re not endorsing individual candidates in this election, we do believe certain issues are preeminently important and certain questions should be asked:

Is the candidate willing to do more than win an election? Is he or she willing to work with members of the rival party to pass constructive legislation that benefits constituents? Does the candidate understand that working across the aisle is not consorting with the enemy and that compromise is not a four-letter word?

Does the candidate support and appreciate law enforcement, while also expecting accountability and transparency from those we’ve entrusted to serve and protect and, in certain circumstances, given a license to kill?

Does the candidate believe in sufficient funding for public schools and understand the critical role schools play in nearly every other facet of our communities, from the economy to quality of life to public safety? Does the candidate see teachers and principals as allies who are typically overworked and underpaid rather than “groomers” and “indoctrinators”?

And will the candidate accept the results of the election or will he or she claim fraud in advance in the case of a loss?

Two years ago, we warned our readers that despite former President Trump’s confidence, and that of people who believed every word he spoke, it was entirely possible that Joe Biden would win the presidency.

Some found that outcome to be so unexpected that to this day they have trouble coping with it.

Today, some feel just as confident that they know how things will go. This includes many in the MAGA base, which believes that a Republican wave is inevitable and says that the only way Democratic candidates can win is by cheating.

This is unsportsmanlike, to say the least. “Arrogant” is more accurate. And its intended result — to undermine public confidence in elections — is downright dangerous. It all should have stopped long before Jan. 6, 2021.

Given the degree to which American elections are transparent and well-managed — along with the new restrictions many states put in place following the 2020 presidential election, as well as the increase in polling site scrutiny — complaints about cheating this time would say more about those who complain than the results they dislike.

Some predict dire times ahead — and they may be right, as our challenges include not only economic upheaval and extreme climate events, but the unchecked misinformation that swamps our nation.

A house built on such sand will not stand. Whatever the results of this election, we’ve got to find a way to value and honor truth again.

For those who could use some encouraging news near the end of a long, bitter campaign, consider Vet the Vote. The national initiative, co-founded by a U.S. Navy spouse, has enlisted an army of tens of thousands of military veterans and members of military families as voluntary poll workers — many in response to the reports of threats made toward poll workers and election officials. Its ranks have swollen to more than 63,000. Vet the Vote members represent a wide spectrum of political views — but they share a love of America and a belief in protecting democracy.

We could all learn from their example.

To the winners, we offer our congratulations; we wish you good health, wisdom and compassion. Don’t forget that yours is an office of service, not dictatorial reign.

To those who did not win, we offer our commiseration. Competition is the lifeblood of American politics, and we appreciate your role in giving voters options.

Whoever wins owes us — the residents of our cities, counties and state — responsible, thoughtful leadership and advocacy. They owe this to all residents — including those who voted for other candidates or didn’t vote at all. That’s the job.

Good luck to us all.

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