It’s almost Election Day in Portage County as voters head to the polls Tuesday to decide on a small list of issues and their party nominees for November.

Before you cast your ballot, we offer the following observations. Most importantly, please vote. It’s the foundation of our representatve democracy and remains the best way to keep our elected officials accountable.

Portage Health District: Most voters will be asked to approve a renewal tax for the Portage County Health District, which serves residents everywhere except in Kent. What’s most important here is this renewal issue won’t increase taxes and would continue to cost property owners $12.34 per $100,000 of property value. That’s a small price to pay for the vital services not funded by state and federal funds. We encourage a yes vote on Issue 6.

School issues: We remain torn between the very real needs of our schools and taxpayers being asked over and over again to provide more funds. It’s clear our state’s efforts to fix school funding remains an unfulfilled promise, especially in rural districts such as Waterloo and Field. Waterloo has two issues on the ballot, a 9.75-mill new levy (Issue 3) and no-new-cost 5.59-mill renewal (Issue 4). Issue 3 would cost $341 per $100,000 of property value. Field has combined two issues into Issue 2, including 9.85 mills for current expenses and a 5-year, 1-mill permanent improvement issue. Issue 2 would cost $380 per $100,000 of value. Field has not had a new local operating levy since 1991. While these clearly are not small costs to most, the reality is both districts are coping with rising costs and mandates while lacking alternatives other than cutting teachers and staff. We continue to believe supporting public education is paramount to our communities and future.

2 key races: The biggest primary races are for Republicans seeking to challenge Portage County Commissioner Vicki Kline in November. The contenders are Ed Dean and Kristen Morris. In the 75th Ohio House District, three Democrats want to replace state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, who is running for Ohio Secretary of State. They are Denise Baba, Randi Klites and Alice Freitas, with the winner facing Jim Lutz in November. You can read more about each in our Voter Guide online, last Sunday’s print edition or watch a video interview at or our Facebook page.

Congressional races: Confused about which district you live in? Well, supporting Issue 1 would help down the road. But for now, we suggest visiting the Portage County Board of Elections website or deciphering the following. If you live in Mogadore or Brimfield, Edinburg, Randolph, Rootstown and Suffield townships, you will find competitive races for the 16th District for both Republicans and Democrats. If you live in the Aurora, Hiram, Mantua, or Garrettsville area, the real race will come in November. And for the rest of Portage County, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, faces unqualified opposition in the Democratic primary.

Partisanship problems: While this is by definition a primary, we hope you will consider a candidate’s temperament and ability to work with others of different beliefs when voting. America does not need more divisive "my way or the highway" politicians serving our country, let alone gaining a foothold in local offices.