Pick the best

Published 9:03 pm Sunday, May 4, 2008

By Staff
With the economy apparently headed toward a recession, a growing population putting pressures on the state’s resources and country roads and urban highways that are not up to speed, North Carolina voters are being asked on Tuesday to select the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates who can best address those issues and others.
No, there will be no endorsement of a candidate in these paragraphs. Instead, there is an admonition for Tarheel voters: Get out and vote Tuesday. Voters should mark their ballots for the person they believe can and will lead North Carolina as it addresses the aforementioned issues and other issues facing the state. There’s an axiom that goes like this: You get what you pay for. Well, for voters, there should be another axiom: You get what you vote for.
From the governor’s seat to Council of State positions, North Carolina voters have opportunities with Tuesday’s primaries and the Nov. 4 general election to choose the leadership they believe will best serve North Carolina and its residents. That’s why those voters must make educated, well-informed decisions when they mark their ballots.
In early April, a poll indicated that more than 50 percent of North Carolina voters hadn’t decided whom they will vote for in the state’s gubernatorial race. With the Republican and Democratic primaries a month away at that time, that was a sad commentary on voter interest. We hope voters’ interest in the primaries will change by Tuesday.
There are indications that may be happening.
During the first three months of this year, a little more than 165,000 people had registered to vote in North Carolina. That’s almost three times the number of people who registered to vote during the first three months of 2004, the last presidential primary in the state.
State Board of Elections officials, according to a report by The Associated Press, expect a record turnout May 6. Those officials believe about half of the 5.7 million registered voters in the state will mark ballots, compared to previous turnouts ranging from 16 percent to 31 percent. A 50-percent turnout would be welcome, but a higher turnout, say in the 65 percent to 75 percent area, would be more welcome.
Ten days ago, according to state elections officials, a little more than 74,700 one-stop ballots had been marked. As of 6 a.m. Thursday, 261,505 voters had marked one-stop ballots. Take that as a good sign voters are beginning to take an interest in the primaries.
It would be a shame for less than half of the state’s voters to mark ballots in Tuesday’s primaries or the Nov. 4 general election. If that happens, that means a minority of voters determines who will lead the local, state and federal governments. It also means the majority of the state’s voters and residents will have had no say in who will govern them.
That’s just not right.
It’s understandable if the choice of candidates does not appeal to many voters. Although the quality of candidates on the ballots may leave something to be desired, voters should exercise their right to pick the candidates they believe will best serve them at the local, state and federal level.
And when it comes to choosing those leaders, each voter should make up his or her own mind when it comes to deciding which candidates can best provide the leadership needed to face challenges at the local, state and federal levels.