Today Americans go to the polls to elect our next leaders.

We hope you're among those Americans.

Del Norte County voters will decide who serves on their school board, who runs their fire district, how much we spend on tourism and in Crescent City who sits on the City Council. Local voters will help choose who will be our next governor, how much our Legislature might borrow for roads and classrooms, and whether or not the state constitution will be amended. Local voters will help determine the makeup of the next Congress.

Unfortunately, a number of eligible voters won't head to the polls today. They're either andquot;too busy,andquot; have given up on government or are just apathetic.

But voting is our civic duty, as necessary to democracy's survival as looking both ways when crossing a street is to our personal safety. The fewer the people that vote, the fewer the people that decide who will be our leaders, leading to a concentration of power among a few interests. It shouldn't be surprising to anyone that andquot;the right to voteandquot; is the answer to the citizenship test question, andquot;What is the most important right granted to U.S. citizens?andquot;

During the past couple of weeks, The Daily Triplicate has endorsed a number of positions and candidates. After meeting with those running for office and examining the proposals, we recommend that Del Norte and Crescent City voters cast the following ballots today:

?Measures A-D - Yes. The measures would raise more than $350,000 for a new visitors bureau, to bring tourists to Del Norte County, by raising the bed tax, placing a bed tax on RV parks and by requiring government officials to pay the bed tax. Crescent City residents get to cast ballots on all four measures while county residents outside the city limits can vote on Measures A-C.

?Crescent City Council - Dennis Burns and Richard Enea. Both incumbents have helped move the city forward during the past several months on the council.

?First Congressional District - Mike Thompson. The four-term incumbent has brought dollars to the district and has Del Norte County's best interests in mind.

?Propositions 1A-1E -- Yes. The suite of five andquot;Rebuild Californiaandquot; measures closes a loophole so gas tax money is spent on transportation and allows the Legislature to borrow up to $37.3 billion for roads, schools, levees and affordable housing.

But what's important today isn't whether or not you agree with our positions. What matters is that you participate in the democratic process and vote. When that happens, we all win.