Brace yourself. We will be subjected today to a final barrage of campaign commercials and phone calls.

Today is the last day candidates have to convince us to cast our ballots in their favor.

This is the day each year that is most representative of democracy because it is the people themselves, not elected officials, who have the greatest say in the direction of government.

As irritating as various campaigns have been, the candidates’ insistent presence serves a purpose: to prompt us to vote.

We should heed the prompt, not because the candidates tell us so, but because our participation protects and preserves democracy.

Voting itself, with the exception of waiting in line, takes very little time. But we all wait in long lines for many other things and the wait should not be a deterrent.

So, please vote. And know that tomorrow we can open our mailboxes without pulling out a fistful of brochures from local and state candidates, each one more distorted than the next.

Tomorrow night, we can enjoy dinner without a call from Laura Bush, urging us to support the Republican Party. We can quietly read a book without being interrupted by a call from Stockard Channing trying to convince us that sometimes life does imitate television and that virtual Democrats are a model for reality. We can turn on the television and watch a program without hearing an attack ad.

Also on Wednesday the political signs dotting public and private properties will begin to disappear, clearing the ground for this week’s expected snowfall.

Vanishing commercials and campaign signs will be welcome, but our attention to government spending and policy should linger after Election Day.

During the campaign candidates repeatedly urged us to call their opponents and question their records. Calling politicians is always a good idea. These are the people we choose to govern us, and regular contact from constituents grounds government to our interests.

So, while the campaign calls will stop coming to our homes, let’s not stop phoning lawmakers at their offices and calling them on their work.

Hunting safety
The first day of Maine’s whitetail deer hunting season opened with an injury. It was a minor one, a man shot in the foot by one of his companions.

Saturday’s opening was also the day with the fewest hunters in the woods because the season opener was for Mainers only. For the rest of the month – discounting Sundays – the woods will be populated by out-of-state hunters, too, and the risk of accidents and injuries rises with the number of people on the prowl.

Maine’s hunting season has gotten progressively safer over the years, and that trend can continue if hunters and non-hunters take similar caution.

If you’re in the woods – hunting or hiking – wear blaze orange. If you post your property, do it prominently. Remind children that deer season has opened so they are alert when playing outdoors. And, most importantly, observe basic gun safety and obey laws regarding hours of hunting.

The quickest way to foster anti-hunting sentiment is for someone to get hurt.

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