A lot of people are calling the 2012 election the most important one in years, and it is hard to dispute that view.

For starters, there is a wide political and philosophical gulf between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney on a host of critical issues.

Here in Connecticut, we will elect a new U.S. senator -- either Congressman Chris Murphy (D) or businesswoman Linda McMahon (R) -- and once again, it will make a big difference which candidate is elected.

Closer to home, voters in the 5th Congressional District, which includes the towns in Greater New Milford, will choose a new representative to succeed Murphy in a hotly contested battle between 30th District state Sen. Andrew Roraback (R) and former legislator Elizabeth Esty (D).

In addition, there will be several state Senate and House seats up for grabs in Greater New Milford on Election Day -- Tuesday, Nov. 6.

We believe it is important for the public to be fully engaged in the electoral process and for there to be a strong voter turnout.

For those of you who are already registered to vote, we encourage you to learn all you can about the candidates and to be sure to head to the polls on Nov. 6.

For those of you who are not on the voting rolls today but are eligible, we urge you to act quickly to become a voter for this election.

It is easy to register.

All you have to do is obtain and fill out a voter registration application form, which can be obtained online or at the town clerk's office or registrar of voters' office in your town hall.

In order to vote on Nov. 6, you must mail in the form by Oct. 23 or register in person by Oct. 30.

Individuals who turn 18, become citizens or change town residence between Oct. 30 and Election Day can register to vote through Nov. 5 at 5 p.m.

Keep in mind: Voting is a right, a privilege and a responsibility. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity by participating in this year's important electoral process.