If the Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, (fill in the blank) Uniteds and Working Families — to say nothing of the declared write-ins and the self-named parties (truly parties of one) — occupying the 2021 ballot lines were laid end on end, they would reach the moon.

If loyalists belonging to all these parties turn out to vote Tuesday, the results could be surprising.

Early voting days have come and gone. It is now up to the traditionalists who step out of their homes and walk or drive to the nearest polling place to cast ballots. The future course of Greene and Columbia counties is in their hands.

The campaigning has been largely subdued, possibly due to the uncertainties hovering around the COVID-19 pandemic. The liveliest contest in both counties is arguably the race for Columbia County sheriff. Incumbent Republican David Bartlett has weathered and survived blows inflicted by the controversial Harold Handy III assault case while allies of Democratic challenger Don Krapf clamor for reform of the way county law enforcement does business.

Over the 72 hours before Election Day, voters and candidates can pause and take a breath for Tuesday and Wednesday — and perhaps beyond — will be a period of triumph or dejection.

What we know is that the sheer number of candidates — more than 200 in contested and uncontested races — might have set a new threshold for a general election, if such statistics were kept.

The battle for November began with the spring caucuses, June primaries and the county nominating conventions. But Tuesday the future rests on the choices made by the people the winning candidates will serve.

If the political fates navigate the course — and remember, that is never to be taken for granted — Athens will have a new town supervisor and a challenger in Cairo could emerge to replace the retired Legislator William Lawrence. In Catskill, a presumptive record nine candidates are on the ballot vying for four seats on the Greene County Legislature. The Legislature, knows for its past swings, has a potential for upsets and bears watching.

Numerous seats in the city of Hudson and Columbia County towns are up for grabs.

As usual, a win here or a loss there could alter the power structure in several towns and both counties for the next few years.

Taxes, sustainability, pandemic, broadband, infrastructure, growth, jobs and communication were the watchwords of the 2021 campaign. These are the realities of the “new normal” today and quite possibly for years to come.

The task Tuesday is for voters to turn out in big numbers, make their voices heard and shape the future that they want.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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