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In August 2016, the last time we had a primary election in Volusia County, only about a fourth of the eligible voters — 27 percent, to be exact — bothered to cast ballots. 

Even during the presidential primary in March that year, not even half of registered voters expressed their preference. Only 44.7 percent. 

By comparison, nearly three-fourths of voters did their civic duty during the November general election. 

That’s a shame. We must do better. Our next opportunity is coming Tuesday, Aug. 28. 

Primary elections may lack the glitz and glam of presidential races, but they’re where key races that affect your day-to-day life may be decided. 

Candidates for mayor, city and county council and commission, School Board and judges are all on the primary ballot, and some of the races will be decided in the primary.

At the very least, the primary is where a crowded race is whittled down to two candidates, who go on to the general election in November. Better vote in the primary if you want to be sure you’ll be able to vote for your favored candidate in November.

Primary voters gave Volusia County its current sheriff, when Mike Chitwood clinched 50.6 percent of the vote in August 2016, in a five-person race. If you waited to vote for sheriff in the general election, you missed your chance.

This time around, an important circuit-court judgeship and an important county judgeship are on the line in the primary.

Races for the District 5 and at-large seats on the Volusia County Council will likely be decided in the primary. Each race has two major candidates plus a write-in. 

In the at-large race, John Casaburro, with $225 in his campaign account, is competing against L. Ronald Durham’s $37,710 and Ben Johnson’s $192,595 in campaign cash. 

While Casaburro’s willingness to serve is admirable, history and common sense tell us it’s unlikely his write-in effort will attract many votes. A similar scenario is at play in the District 5 County Council race.

Miss the primary, and you will likely miss your chance.

Wouldn’t you want to make sure your voice is heard? 

Our reader surveys show that 94 percent of Beacon readers vote in every election, so if you’re reading this, you may not need our encouragement to take part in the Aug. 28 primary.

You already know you’re going to vote, and you might already know how you’re going to vote.

This year’s election is the perfect opportunity for you to take on the role of “voting ambassador.” Encourage your friends, neighbors, relatives, colleagues and pets to vote. 

Okay, maybe scratch the pets. 

Beyond encouraging them to vote, encourage them to be informed voters. 

The Beacon is committed to helping voters make intelligent decisions this election season.

We are currently running a series of profiles in The Beacon and The Beacon EXTRA! on the candidates in most local races. 

Plus, our 2018 Primary Voter’s Guide, packed with even more information, will publish Aug. 15, as a supplement to the newspaper.

Choosing those who will represent you in government isn’t something everyone in the world gets to do. 

As an American, it’s your right — but it’s also your responsibility. Don’t miss the primary.