U.S. voters typically head to the polls in greater numbers during a national election than for local and midterm elections. That’s certainly true for Minnesotans and Wisconsinites, but primary turnout here tends to be higher than elsewhere, and we’re proud of that.

But the primary election is of primary importance again this year.

First, if western Wisconsin citizens miss it, they will lose their opportunity to determine two criminal justice posts.

St. Croix County voters will choose between two Republican candidates -- Karl Anderson and Amber Hahn -- to succeed Michael Nieskes as district attorney. The winner will claim full victory, because no Democratic candidates filed for the position.

Pierce County has two Democrats running for district attorney: Sean Froelich is seeking his third term and faces challenger Halle E. Hatch. In this case, no Republican filed so the Aug. 11 vote again will be definitive.

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Second, voters on the Minnesota side of the river will narrow the field in two local races.

In Red Wing, three people are vying to be mayor. Sean Dowse, the incumbent, faces challenges from Janie Farrar and Mike Wilson. The two top vote-getters advance to the general election.

Four people are seeking to succeed Barney Nesseth, the Goodhue County District 3 commissioner. They are Keith Allen, Todd Greseth, Phillip Charles Parrish and Rod Steele.

So you see, Tuesday’s election will have real consequences.

Third, the primary is the precursor to the Nov. 3 Election Day, when we will choose our president and some key federal and state posts.

We hope local citizens cast ballots in droves on Tuesday or before through absentee balloting as they prepare for that day. It stands to reason that if you vote in the primary, you’re much more likely to vote in the general election because you have a stake in the outcomes.

Vote now. Engage in democracy. Exercise this freedom so essential to who we are as communities, states and a nation.