Now it's your turn to speak; don't succumb to cynicism

One final word before Tuesday's election: Vote.

There is abundant temptation toward cynicism in the wake of the negative ads, the endless mailers and the astounding amount of money that have rained down on Kentucky voters these last several months.

Resist that temptation.

We are no fans of the campaign finance decisions that allow virtually unfettered spending, or of the political reporting that focuses on "gotcha" moments instead of issues, or of the political messaging that reduces complex, important public debate to simplistic sound bites.

It may seem trite to preach about the blood shed to protect that right, but it is true.

In other parts of the world today, people are risking their lives to gain the power of the vote. And it has not been so long ago that dedicated citizens braved fire hoses and police dogs to gain equal access to the polls in this country.

Indeed, the battle continues over laws that would restrict access to voting by limiting the hours polls are open, voter-ID laws and other efforts to put up barriers to voting.

By comparison, enduring disrupted TV schedules, extra mail and pop-up ads is hardly a sacrifice.

From the perspective of the Herald-Leader editorial board, where we have extended conversations with most candidates for significant local, state or national offices, there's reason to be optimistic.

Particularly at the local level, the quality and enthusiasm of many first-time candidates — and some veterans — this year was encouraging and inspiring.

Their campaigns for the most part happen far away from the chattering, distracting world of outsized money and pre-packaged messages.

They work hard to learn what those they hope to represent are concerned about, not by raising money to pay pollsters but by going door to door, meeting with neighborhood groups, appearing at local forums.

They seem to have a genuine interest in public service rather than promoting a particular ideological approach to government.

They deserve your careful consideration.

Ironically, the untold millions spent at the top of the ballot only prove the enormous power of each individual vote cast in the privacy of a voting booth.

That's the prize, and you already own it. Use it.