Reading the local headlines today at the library, both in print and online, something in my head finally clicked, as if I suddenly (after many years of study) became fluent in a foreign language.
I still wouldn't recognize four out of my seven county commissioners if they stood in front of me in line at the grocery store, but I feel like I've finally grasped how local government works (or at least, how it's supposed to work in an ideal world).
No coincidence that this week I also studied up on all the candidates on my sample ballot online at the Supervisor of Elections website. In the last few years every time I've gone to vote, I've always thought I did a good job prepping but inevitably there'd be some judge or school board candidate I overlooked and never heard of.
This afternoon on my lunch break I voted confidently after much research, breezing in and out of the county center like a student who just aced an open book test. I hope never again to be a civic underachiever.
Early voting continues until tomorrow at 6 p.m. Here's a list of early voting polling places and times.