The candidates, pollsters and the pundits have had their say. Now itís your turn.

Over the last week, we have published recommendations for how you should cast your votes.

But even if you donít agree with our choices, we urge you to vote today ó if you havenít already done so.

And if the line is long and youíre tempted to give up, remember the great sacrifices so many Americans made to ensure this fundamental right. In a very real sense, it is your civic duty.

A review of our endorsements in the contested races:

PRESIDENT

Republican Mitt Romney, with an impressive resume as both a business leader and a governor, has skills that align well with the tests of our time. Soaring deficits and persisting high unemployment under President Barack Obama show that we canít afford another four years of his failed big-government policies.

CONGRESS

Republican Tim Scott was an effective fiscal hawk during his 13 years on Charleston County Council. Heís taken the same admirable attitude about being stingy with taxpayer dollars to Washington during his first term representing South Carolinaís 1st District in the U.S. House.

S.C. SENATE

Republican Paul Thurmond, who spearheaded cost-cutting reforms during four years on Charleston County Council, is a solid, fiscally conservative pick for Senate District 41, where former Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell gave up the seat to become lieutenant governor.

Democrat Clementa Pinckney, who stresses such pressing needs as economic development and road improvements in rural communities, has earned a fourth term representing Senate District 45.

S.C. HOUSE

Republican Ed Carter, a combat-decorated Air Force pilot challenging the incumbent in District 97, has broad economic-development experience as a former Dorchester County administrator and Chamber of Commerce president.

Democrat Joe Jefferson, who has established a fine reputation for constituent service during four terms representing District 102, is a tireless advocate for bringing more jobs to Berkeley County.

Republican Edward Southard, former chairman of the Berkeley County Planning Commission, has been an independent voice for his constituents during his year representing District 100.

Republican Bobby Harrell has ably represented District 114 for 10 terms, including the last four as House speaker. An effective advocate of streamlined government and increased accountability, he also has helped bring good jobs to our community and state, playing a key role in the negotiations that landed the Boeing 787 Dreamliner plant in North Charleston.

Democrat Carol Tempel, who is challenging the District 115 incumbent as a petition candidate, would bring valuable firsthand experience as a teacher and principal to the stateís crucial task of improving public education.

CHARLESTON COUNTY COUNCIL

Democrat Vic Rawl, seeking a second and final term from District 6, has been a champion of consolidation of government services, improved waste management, regional planning and economic development.

CHARLESTON COUNTY AUDITOR

Democrat Peter Tecklenburg, former operations administrator for the Charleston County Board of Elections and ex-assistant director of CARTA, has the academic and professional background needed for the overdue task of making the auditorís office more efficient.

CHARLESTON COUNTY

SCHOOL BOARD

Todd Garrett is running for the Downtown Charleston seat. No one is listed on the ballot, so you will have to write him in. A Marine Reserves major with a bachelorís degree from The Citadel and a masterís from Harvard, Mr. Garrett brings a parentís perspective ó and a commitment to educational choice ó to the board, where he was appointed to fill the last few months of Toya Greenís unexpired term after she resigned.

Tom Ducker, a decorated pilot who has come back to his native North Charleston after 26 years in the Air Force, persuasively cites his experience in managing diverse personnel and handling large budgets as an asset for one of two North Charleston seats.

Mattese Lecque, chair of the Burke Foundation for Student Enrichment and Mentoring, and treasurer of the North Charleston High School PTSA, learned about dealing with stressful situations during 24 years with the federal Bureau of Prisons. The Burke High graduate, whoís seeking one of two North Charleston seats, rightly stresses the imperative of giving quality educational opportunities to all students in all schools.

John Barter, a member of the Charleston Education Network seeking one of two open seats from West Ashley, is a former chief financial official of a major corporation. In addition to his ample knowledge about large budgets, he has considerable experience as a harmony-enhancing member of various private-sector and non-profit boards ó a sorely needed attribute on our frequently fractious school board.

Michael Miller, a local barber-shop owner seeking one of the two West Ashley seats, is a longtime volunteer in struggling local schools, and has had a front-row seat to the persisting problems they face. As a result, he has well-informed insights into positive solutions.

SCHOOL FUNDING REFERENDUMS

Vote yes for Dorchester County District 2 schools. The districtís outstanding academic record has contributed significantly to rapid population growth in the area it serves as families relocate there for their childrenís sake. But the resulting overcrowding has forced roughly 3,500 students into trailers, with some classes now being taught in storage rooms. Voters should pass the referendum raising property taxes to fund construction of new schools needed to handle the rising enrollments.

Vote yes for Berkeley County schools. The Berkeley County School District is also caught in the numbers squeeze that comes with population growth.

While nobody likes higher taxes, the spectacles of students crammed into trailers and traveling an hour on buses each way to and from school arenít acceptable. Voters must pass the referendum for the district to fulfill its educational duty in a responsible manner.

STATE REFERENDUM

Vote yes.

What if President Barack Obama won a second term today, then learned that Vice President Joe Biden had lost his own re-election bid to Paul Ryan?

Voters should finally end the recurring risk of such an governor-lieutenant governor conflict in our state by passing the referendum letting gubernatorial nominees pick their running mates ó and letting them run as a ticket.