Early voting begins Saturday in an election that will be concluded on Nov. 7. The extra days to get to the polls may help encourage turnout in this off-year cycle. Without top-of-the-ticket races to get people off the couch, figuratively and literally, voter numbers could be low. In East Hampton Town a lackluster campaign season increases the risk. Nothing against the local court, but when the hottest race is for town justice, you know you have a yawner of a year.
It is at the county level that things get interesting. A relative newcomer, Dave Calone, is taking on Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine for Suffolk executive. For legislator in District 2, which covers East Hampton and most of Southampton Town, Manny Vilar of Springs is taking on Ann Welker, who is a Southampton Town trustee. Mr. Vilar is the East Hampton Republican Committee chairman and is recently retired from the New York State Parks Police. Though county government can seem at a distance from the needs of the South Fork, we depend on it for a range of services, from environmental protection to keeping harbor inlets navigable. Increasingly, the county will play a part in the response to climate change and sea level rise. For these reasons and more, we urge would-be and committed voters alike to take a close look at the Calone-Romaine and Welker-Vilar races.