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Mike Ridgeway fills out his ballot Tuesday, Nov. 6 at the Twin Falls Reformed Church in Twin Falls. Ridgeway said he votes in every election. 'Everybody needs to have a say in who is going to run your state,' he said.

Magic Valley voters headed to the polls Tuesday to weigh in on a bevy of issues. In addition to the typical state legislators up for re-election, several local legislators faced viable opponents for the first time in several election cycles. Twin Falls also had an open seat in the Idaho House with the retirement of longtime legislator Stephen Hartgen.

And statewide, voters chose a new governor and a new lieutenant governor for the times in more than a decade. They also weighed in on two voter initiatives, including one — Proposition 2 — that will greatly alter Idaho health care.

The result? A rate of voter turnout that should make the Magic Valley proud. We have a story coming Saturday that breaks down specific voter turnouts, but, for now, take our word. Turnout was great.

It’s not necessarily surprising that voter interest was high. There were plenty of contentious and important issues on the ballot. But for a non-presidential year, the rates were exceptional.

The challenge now is to stay engaged. Voters on both sides of the political aisle were energized by local, state and national politics in this midterm election. But if you really want to see the first-hand results of your vote, you must also cast a ballot in the next school board and city council elections. Vote on that next bond proposal for your local school district too. It all matters.

Take that feeling of excitement when the candidate you supported was announced as the winner — or your disappointment when they weren’t — and channel that into staying involved and informed about government and politics.

State, and especially national politics, garner more attention. But local school and city elections are no less important. When it comes to shaping the Magic Valley, those elected officials do plenty of heavy lifting too. Don’t let that Election Day participation dwindle. Stay energized and stay involved.

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