This election could be the most important ever.

We hear that admonition, it seems, every time there is an election - especially in presidential election years.

This time, that characterization might be close to the truth.

On Tuesday, voters have a choice of two presidential candidates who envision very different paths out of our economic slump.

There also are House and Senate races that will impact how well the president will fare, and at the state level we will elect a new governor and several legislators.

At the local level, there are important choices to be made - from county officials to school board members.

The school board race is non-partisan but strong differences exist over how best to educate our children with declining financial support from the state. The election for the Superintendent of Public Education also could greatly impact the role the state plays in local education.

The Sunday-morning political pundits said this may have been one of the nastiest campaign seasons in history. And those who claim to be unbiased said it is impossible to pick a winner in the presidential race.

Voting is one of the most important responsibility a citizen has. But it needs to be exercised. Not voting means people surrender their voice and power to people they likely do not know.

Please don't protest your unhappiness with the process holding back your vote.

As one national columnist put it, if you don't embrace either candidate in a race, hold your nose and vote for the one you consider the better of the two. But not to vote is to throw away your chance altogether and to leave the decision up to someone else.

Vote on Tuesday.