Time to get educated

Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Now that the second primaries are over and the ballots for the Nov. 6 general election are set, voters should use the time between now and the general election to educate themselves about the candidates and their platforms.
To help voters do just that, it would be a good thing for some organizations to organize and conduct some forums at which candidates explain their platforms and voters ask tough questions of candidates. Perhaps less-formal, town hall-style meetings could also help educate voters.
Candidates should educate themselves as to what issues are important to voters. After all, the voters are picking people to represent them at the local, state and national levels when it comes to government. What’s important to voters should be what’s important to candidates.
Although there is a presidential election this year, it would pay us to keep in mind what former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neal said: “All politics is local.” What that means is that a politician’s success is directly linked to his or her ability to understand and influence issues that are important to his or her constituents. Many voters want their representatives to help them with personal issues rather than focus on “big” or imperceptible ideas.
Remember, it’s the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners, not Congress, that sets the property-tax rate. Remember, it’s the Beaufort County Board of Education that determines funding decisions that most affect local schools, not the N.C. General Assembly.
Again, voters must educate themselves about candidates so they can make informed choices this fall.
Election Day — and its ramifications — is closer than you think.