Voting in a time of war somehow seems more important still.
This is not by way of saying which way voters should veer on Nov. 7 with regard to the war itself.
But if the United States is in Iraq and Afghanistan at least in part to spread democracy, then shame on us if Iraqi and Afghanis see droves of Americans staying at home on Election Day.
The number of people who actually turn out to exercise their democratic option is, in the end, more important than the individual tallies gathered by the political parties.
So there should be little tolerance for apathy and indifference when our soldiers are laying their lives on the line for the freedoms we should never take for granted, but so often do.
Beyond war, the issues facing voters are both national and local. Immigration has been one issue to the fore in both contexts that we find particularly hard to ignore.
Opinion on what to do is divided between the main parties and within them. But no matter what is the outcome of the House and Senate races, Americans have a right to expect more imagination and a more detailed result from the next, the 110th, Congress.
President Bush signed into law last week a narrowly focused bill, the main part of which is a planned fence along the border with Mexico that may or may not be eventually funded and built.
It was encouraging to hear the president using the signing ceremony to urge a more extensive reworking of an immigration system that is quite clearly in disarray.
Bush spoke of a middle-ground approach to dealing with a situation in which there may be as many as 11 million undocumented and illegals living within the nation’s porous borders.
This middle ground would fall somewhere between mass deportation, favored by some lawmakers in the outgoing Congress, and an automatic path to citizenship for illegals already in the U.S., a plan derided as unacceptable amnesty by critics.
The solution does not have to be a blanket amnesty. It can contain many safeguards and tripwires that will ensure that only the truly deserving are allowed lay claim to a temporary work visa, legal residence or full citizenship.
In the meantime, moves to better secure the borders can proceed on a separate track.
We have our doubts that an intermittent fence will do much in that regard. It looks, quite frankly, like an expensive election year sop, a boondoggle in the desert.
President Bush, during the signing ceremony, said he was looking forward to working with the next Congress on immigration.
We hope Congress, regardless of its party political make up, takes up the president’s invitation and gets to work on the immigration issue in its very first days.
We pay Congress to come up with workable and imaginative ideas. The 109th was less than stellar in this regard. But there are enough members in place on both sides of the aisle, and others likely to be returned after Nov. 7, who possess the wit, wisdom and grit to come up with the right answer to the immigration mess.
As the president might put it himself: bring it on!