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Editorial: Our turn, finally

Many people may be unaware that Pierce County and the rest of the state votes in a presidential primary Tuesday, Feb. 19.

With all the early primaries and many candidates dropping out, it's easy to overlook that Wisconsinites finally get a chance to weigh in on that date. Polls here will be open all day.

The nation's front-loaded primary system is very flawed. With so many states leapfrogging to earlier and earlier primary dates, the so-called later ones--like Wisconsin--become almost irrelevant.

Why should Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada have the right to influence when a Bill Richardson or a Fred Thompson (or a Tommy Thompson) steps down? This absurdly long presidential primary race should be compressed into two or three regional primaries. That way, all voters get a fair shot at deciding the outcome leading to the November vote for president.

Wisconsin and Pierce County may catch a break this year because, while some candidates have already dropped out, neither party has found a clear front runner. This could mean that the Feb. 19 vote for both Republican and Democrat presidential candidates will still count for something.

We must also remind local voters the Feb. 19 primary is more than just voting for president. There are races in the River Falls area to reduce the slate of candidates. A primary will be held for school board candidates competing for two open seats and for District 6 Pierce County Supervisor.

The newspaper will furnish coverage of primary candidates so voters can make informed choices when voting Feb. 19. Until then, let's hope the surviving presidential candidates hang in there so we have some choices and our votes count.