Today is the day after big elections for Ketchum, Hailey and the Blaine County School Board. This should be the day that residents congratulate not only the winners, but all of those who ran.

Every candidate who actively ran for office gave voters a gift. Without candidates willing to step out of private life and into the public spotlight, voters would have heard no debate about local public policies or the direction in which their towns and schools are headed.

They wouldn’t have been able to question candidates at forums, in casual street-corner conversations or when they came knocking on their doors. They would have been unable to learn where candidates would lead them.

Enthusiasm for voting would have been tepid without the energy of election contests and articulate candidates willing to talk and write in detail about their similarities and differences.

Voter turnout would have been low and candidates who won elected offices would have been left to wonder if voters really wanted them to be leaders or just glorified bean counters.

Vigorous elections in small towns like ours should become the model for our national elections. Opposing candidates will have to see each other again in the aisles of stores, on a sidewalk or at events.

They will be civil even though disagreements may persist. They will do so with good humor because of the certainty that politics makes opponents on one issue allies on another.

The day after an election usually feels a lot like the day after a big party. Somewhere, dirty dishes are scattered, red, white and blue bunting is sagging, and the people who stayed up too late to get results are tired and headachy.

Even so, everyone should relax in the knowledge that while some won and some lost, it is democracy that won the day.

“Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to editorialboard@mtexpress.com.

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