Wanted: Smart voters

Published 12:06 am Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Next month, Washington voters go to the polls to elect a mayor and five City Council members.

Although no one filed to challenge Mayor Archie Jennings in his re-election bid, eight people filed as City Council candidates. Those eight candidates include the five incumbent council members, a former councilman and two people seeking council seats for the first time.

The incumbents are Gil Davis, Doug Mercer, Ed Moultrie, William Pitt and Bobby Roberson. Former council member Richard Brooks, Lloyd May and Rick Gagliano are challenging the incumbents.

It’s heartening to see nine people seeking to serve the city.

To repay their willingness to seek public office, the public — that’s the rest of us — should learn as much as we can about the candidates, why they want to govern the city and how they plan to govern the city. It’s up to us as voters to educate ourselves as much as possible about the candidates and their platforms.

To help do that, the Washington Daily News will publish candidate profiles the latter part of this month. The profiles are designed so the candidates can get their messages to the voters. The profiles allow candidates to address issues they believe are important — to the voters and themselves.

Although the profiles will help educate voters about the candidates, voters should do more to familiarize themselves with the candidates. Voters, when possible, should attend functions where candidates will be — council meetings, political rallies and such. We urge candidates to conduct door-to-door campaigns, when possible, to deliver their messages to voters.

Yes, voters have a responsibility to learn where candidates stand on the issues and enter the voting booths educated about the candidates and the issues. Anything less is akin to taking one’s right to vote for granted.