Be sure to vote in Special Election

For those readers who are unaware, The Millerton News is a local, independent community weekly newspaper, a rare thing these days. It is owned by The Lakeville Journal Foundation based in northwest Connecticut, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed in 2021 that also owns The Lakeville Journal, its sister newspaper in Connecticut. We believe that these newspapers are the primary source of local information for thousands of residents throughout northeastern Dutchess County and northwestern Connecticut. Before they achieved nonprofit status, The Millerton News and Lakeville Journal have served their communities side-by-side since The Lakeville Journal purchased The Millerton News in 1972. And The Lakeville Journal has been serving its coverage area in Connecticut for 125 years.

A June 29 study from the Northwestern University  Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications, confirmed how difficult it is for newspapers to survive. It announced — and The Millerton News editorialized about this serious situation in its July 7 issue — that newspapers are closing at a rate of two per week across the U.S. Another dire statistic: More than 2,200 newspapers have stopped publishing since 2005.

To continue our mission of delivering fair, balanced and accurate reporting of vital local and breaking news important to our readers’ lives and our communities’ wellbeing, we need to be fluid in how we approach our future. That’s why The Lakeville Journal Company made the leap and was among the first weekly newspapers in the country to become nonprofit.

Readers and supporters can help buttress our efforts by becoming donors, and by subscribing, which is easy to do by going to our website, Look toward the top right corner for a tab that says, “Donate and Support Local Journalism,” or to subscribe enter the tab that says, “Subscriptions.”

To learn more about The Journal’s rich century-and-a-quarter history, be sure to check out a month-long series of events just across the border. “Life of a Community: The Lakeville Journal Celebrates 125 Years” is an exhibit on display at the Academy Building at 24 Main St., Salisbury, Conn., until Saturday, Oct. 1.

Since The Journal’s first issue, Volume I, Issue I, dated Aug. 14, 1897, this company has written news covering just about everything. That issue included snippets about a grain elevator that blew up in Chicago; a death at a wedding frolic in Ohio; a short piece entitled, “‘Unwritten Law’ and Women,” about female rivals in Kentucky; plus other fascinating reports from around the country and world, including stories of war in Armenia; a prime minister slain in Spain; and President William McKinley visiting Vermont with his wife.

However, the move to becoming a nonprofit also means we may not endorse political candidates. We stopped endorsing local candidates many years ago as we found it interfered with our dealings with some local governments. We continued, however, to run state and national endorsements; now, as a 501(c)(3), we agreed to end that practice as well.

So we are staying out of picking a favorite in the Special Election on Tuesday, Aug. 23, to replace former U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-19) following his move to Albany to become lieutenant governor. Delgado replaced disgraced former Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin when he resigned following his arrest and indictment for fraud and bribery this spring. (For full details on the Special Election, see front page.)

What we can do, though, is encourage absolutely every single registered voter — Democrat, Republican, Green Party, Conservative, NOP — it doesn’t matter under which political persuasion one falls — to make sure they vote.

Yes, it’s August, not the traditional time to head to the polls. One typically thinks of fall and autumn leaves when casting their ballot during the November election cycle. This, however, is an exception, and an important one.

The 2020 Presidential Election between former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden saw “the highest voter turnout of the 21st century,” according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Still, only a little more than two-thirds of voters cast a ballot, with 66.8% of citizens 18 years and older having voted in that election.

That’s not good enough. And that was in the one election that garners the most attention, most interest and most return across the country. Special Elections, especially those scheduled on odd dates, are far less likely to draw even a fraction of those numbers.

Let’s do better. If you are a registered voter, please make it a priority to vote Aug. 23. Primary Elections are also being held that day, so beware of candidates who may be running in multiple races.

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