THE LIKELIHOOD that the District’s special election Tuesday to fill an at-large seat on the D.C. Council will be close is underscored by one candidate’s eleventh-hour bid to get another to drop his campaign. Elissa Silverman recently tried to nudge fellow Democrat Matthew Frumin out of a race in which several hundred votes could decide the outcome.

Revelation of the failed effort should impress upon voters the importance of showing up at the polls Tuesday and of making a selection based not on misguided appeals to party affiliation or race but rather on which candidate offers the best direction for the District.

Six candidates are vying to fill the unexpired term (until Jan. 2, 2015) created when Phil Mendelson (D) was elected D.C. Council chairman. We have endorsed Patrick Mara (R), a member of the state school board who has campaigned on an agenda of education reform, fiscal responsibility and improved ethics. Mr. Mara, we wrote, “is the best choice, offering a record of energetic service to the community marked by a thoughtful approach to the issues and a willingness to speak his own mind.”

Also on the ballot is a referendum on an amendment to the District’s Home Rule Charter that is designed to give the city more freedom to set its budget without congressional interference. Voters should approve Proposed Charter Amendment 8 to allow the city to spend locally raised funds prior to a congressional appropriation. Congress will have an opportunity to weigh in on the measure via a 35-day review period, but voters can send a strong message by voting yes.

Polls at all of the city’s 143 polling places will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Information about the election is available at the D.C. Board of Elections