At the risk of being a tad bit early, we want to urge everyone in Wallowa County to vote.

The Nov. 3 election is fast approaching and will be upon us before we know it. That’s why voters across the county should begin to ponder carefully the choices they will make after they receive their ballots.

There are some interesting races in separate communities around the area, along with several ballot measures — including a decision on a $4 million school bond levy for the Enterprise School District — that deserve the undivided attention of voters.

There isn’t much doubt that, on a national level, the Nov. 3 election is full of implications. During the past 20 years, other elections were touted as key for the future — and all elections are — but none can match the intensity and controversy that Nov. 3 delivers.

On a good note, the nation faces very defined — though stark — choices for president. There is little ambiguity regarding views on President Donald Trump or his challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden. The battle lines are very defined.

So, in a sense, the decision by voters for the nation’s top political leader may be an easy one. Locally, though, the choices may not seem as defined nor as easy.

That is why we want to urge voters to do their homework. That may mean a little more front-end work, even the challenge of asking some questions — but only when a voter has all the facts can she or he make an informed decision.

Informed decisions politically are not as easy to come by as they used to be. Our culture, our nation, is mired in a partisan conflict not seen since the days just before the Civil War. Reasoned dialogue and thoughtful debate don’t appear to exist any longer. That’s a shame. Democracy is built on the notion of compromise and the give-and-take of different interests fighting for supremacy. A winner-takes-all formula isn’t a functional method long term for a democracy.

The Founders, though, appeared to believe in the ultimate reason of “the people” and that is why voting is much more than a simple choice on a ballot but a symbol that, in the end, the average American is quite capable of making the right choice when necessary.

Voting is a sacred American rite. It is also a way to make a difference. So, don’t forget to vote.

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