Essential reporting in volatile times.

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With Super Tuesday done, Democratic Party voters in 14 states narrowed the field of viable candidates for their presidential nominee to just a few at most.

From here until the final primaries on June 2, most primaries will come in batches. Six states hold their primaries Tuesday, followed by four more, including Ohio, on March 17. This month ends with a single primary on March 24 in Georgia and one on March 29 in Puerto Rico.

Ten states will have their primary elections in April. West Virginia and Kentucky are among the states whose primaries usually are held after the nominee is determined. That may not be the case this year, but as always, that remains to be seen.

In recent years, national elections have almost been a spectator sport in West Virginia, thanks to its late primary and its relatively few votes in the Electoral College. The last time the state was a factor probably was in 2000, when its five electoral votes helped George W. Bush defeat Al Gore.

But that does not mean this state is insignificant on the national level. Control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate is always in play. This year the Mountain State has all three of its members in the House and one senator running for re-election.

Republicans will have three candidates, including incumbent Shelley Moore Capito, and three Democrats to choose from in the Senate race. In the 3rd District House race, four Democrats and two Republicans, including incumbent Carol Miller, are on the ballot.

As a side note, because of population trends across the nation, this could be the last year for a long time that West Virginia will have a 3rd District.

The state is likely to lose a House seat after this year’s census.

It’s too early to say whose seats are safe and whose are vulnerable. A lot can happen between now and May and between May and November. And don’t forget the multitude of state and local elections happening the same day.

If you want to be more than a spectator, some deadlines are approaching. The most important one is April 21, which is the deadline to vote in the May 12 primary election in West Virginia. Early voting begins April 29.

If you plan to skip the primary and wait until the general election, you must be registered by Oct. 13.

Early voting begins Oct. 21, and the election is Nov. 3.

Given the anger, vitriol, snark, character assassination, negative advertising and overall meanness displayed by many people in election season, it’s easy to give in to apathy and not vote. That’s understandable, but it’s not wise.

If you care about the direction of your state and your nation, you need to learn what you can about the candidates and then vote. If you don’t care, then don’t vote. If you care, it’s an important responsibility.

Voting is power. As Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, with great power comes great responsibility. Use it well.