It is never a good idea to vote without all of the information.

I understand voter apathy.

It’s hard to get excited when you feel like forces bigger than you control the process.

That might be true in Presidential elections and maybe even in national and state elections. But it is the furthest thing from the truth in local elections.

Any Ward Two voter who chose not to vote could have been the difference in who made it to Tuesday’s ballot. Mark Knowles and long-time City Councilor Mike Huddleston were tied with 28 votes after all was said and done. A coin flip decided the race. One voter could have prevented that.

Tuesday night you have a chance to make up your mind. The eight remaining City Council candidates and two contestants for a school board seat have been invited to City Hall to make statements and answer questions about issues facing them. The event is being hosted by the Augusta Chamber of Commerce.

If you can’t attend in person, the forum will be broadcast on Channel 7.

The candidates on next Tuesday’s ballot are:

Ward 1, City Council

Jason Lowery and Mike Martin

Ward 2, City Council

Jamie Hubbard and Mark Knowles

Ward 3, City Council

Mike Rawlings and Cale Magruder

Ward 4, City Council

Ron Reavis and Dan Helmer Jr.

School Board

Andy Hall and Ray Jones

The primary election showed all of us that every vote can make a difference. If you have changed information or moved since the last time you voted, make sure the County Clerk’s office has everything they need to make your vote count.

But it is never a good idea to vote without all of the information.

Tuesday night’s candidate forum should help voters learn more about the candidates and make the best decision about who should lead the city and school system.

With the recent resignation of City Manager Bill Keefer, the decision only became more important. The new council will choose the next City Manager as one of its first tasks.

That decision, in addition to managing the process for completing the new waterline and Walnut River project to keep the City Lake full and managing a budget that includes paying for all of the recent improvements to the dam and spillway at the lake and the new levee on the city’s west side will keep the next council busy.

All Augusta voters should respect the people who ran. Most of those candidates will be on hand Tuesday to tell about themselves and answer questions.

Watch Tuesday night and then go vote Tuesday, April 2.

This election is very important and the your vote could be the one that makes the difference.

Kent Bush is the publisher of the Augusta Gazette, the El Dorado Times, and the Andover American newspapers. He can be contacted at: