Placeholder voting booth

Today’s election could be viewed as the calm before the storm.

There’s no high-stakes contest to determine the leadership of our country or the makeup of Congress and state legislatures. Ballot initiatives and a decision on the future of St. Joseph’s public high schools? Those wait until next year.

Today’s election features a range of local issues, including extension of a sales tax in Buchanan County and school board elections and municipal races in other Kansas and Missouri counties.

Election authorities predict low turnout, with some voters already feeling a sense of fatigue in the run-up to the Feb. 3 presidential caucuses in Iowa, when the first votes for the Democratic nomination are cast.

It’s possible to feel overwhelmed and turned off at what’s happening at the national level in politics, but that shouldn’t keep voters from going to the polls and participating in today’s election.

A trip to a polling site, even if you feel there’s little of consequence on the ballot, illustrates the commitment to democratic principals and the effectiveness of local election authorities in counties across the country. This is of no small consequence.

Since the 2016 election, much has been made of “fake news,” a meaningless phrase that’s thrown around any time someone doesn’t want to argue facts.

Maybe the term applies in one respect, in the belief that dead people, illegal immigrants or party hacks conspire to rig elections and tilt the results one way or another. A now-disbanded voting integrity commission, launched by the Trump administration, uncovered no evidence to support claims of widespread voter fraud. Note the emphasis on widespread, as in swinging an entire election.

This nonfinding was something to celebrate, since the opposite would shake the country’s democratic foundation. That our elections remain free and fair, despite all of the money thrown into national races and the bitterness of partisan politics, is a small miracle made possible by those who work hard to keep it that way.

So if you hate or distrust a particular candidate or political party, have at it.

Elected leaders may not have earned our trust, but the same can’t be said for state and local election officials, as well as the legion of volunteers who give up their time to work at polling sites starting at 6 a.m. in the morning.

They deserve your thanks when you head to the polls today, because even if you don’t like the final result, you’ll accept it as an accurate and untainted accounting of the electorate’s will. That’s true for today’s low-key election and for the frenzy of 2020, which is sure to follow.