Responsible voter action | EVERYTHING BREMERTON
June 28, 2012 · Updated 10:30 AM
In the next week we will be celebrating our nation’s Independence Day. The actions of this day became a pivotal point in our history that set our country on a course which led to the establishment of a system of self-government that promises its citizens certain rights, privileges and responsibilities. Rights that we continue to hold close and enjoy to this very day.
As citizens and voters, we can best honor the hard work and sacrifices made by generations of Americans for the establishment and continuation of these rights by taking them seriously and approaching them with as much knowledge, honesty and conviction as possible. Do your homework before you vote.
Look beyond the stacks of brochures lining your mail box, the forest of brightly colored campaign signs that liter the local landscape or the bright smile and a handshake from the candidate themselves. Find the substance.
Casting a vote in an election is much more than the mechanics of filling in the appropriate blanks on the ballot. When a citizen makes that final selection on their ballot, each choice should include a certain amount of knowledge of the candidates themselves and be based in some basic research about key issues tied to the elected positions in question.
A wide variety of options and opportunities exist for local candidates to get their message out. Some of these opportunities are detailed, informative and effective. Others are just glossy, fluffy, superficial or just a plain waste of resources and money.
Voters that have the time and ability to attend candidate forums, should do so. The forums are the best opportunities, by far, for the local electorate to see and hear most of the locals running for office. It’s where candidates are asked questions by the hosting organization and each candidate has a set amount of time to respond to that question. I recommend the League of Women Voters forums.
Seek specifics and details beyond the generalized catch phrases. What are the issues that matter to you? What is the candidate’s platform? What is their record as an incumbent office holder? Or what have they done as a citizen to engage, oversee, participate or partner with the governing body that they are now seeking an elected position in? Can they conduct themselves professionally and responsibly?
Voters unable to attend those events in person can turn to various print and online publications, which are accessible from now through the November general election. Candidates have the opportunity for personal and or campaign coverage in local or regional publications. Possible endorsements by editorial boards are also up for grabs. Letters to the editor are published both for and against. The Kitsap County Auditor’s Office has an online Voters Guide www.kitsapgov.com as well as a print version that every voter should utilize.
As a registered voter you will soon receive your ballot for the primary. There is still time for you to seek the answers to your election and candidate questions and prepare your vote.
Have a happy and safe Independence Day.