Get to know your candidates

Published 7:37 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Would you buy a car without taking it for a test drive? Could you imagine taking out a loan without reading the terms? How about buying a piece of real estate sight unseen?

If you are wise in your financial dealings, chances are the answer to these questions would be a resounding “no.”

Now ask yourself, would you vote for a political candidate without knowing who they are? Would you participate in electing a government official without ever reading their platform? Would you take all of a candidate’s statements at face value, and accept their words as truth?

All too often, American voters go to the polls severely under-informed about the options on the ballot. This, in turn, can lead to a certain sense of reliance on letters on the ballot that indicate a candidate’s party.

Fortunately for Beaufort County voters, there will be plenty of opportunities to look state and local candidates in the eye between now and November. From meet and greets and fundraisers to candidate forums being held throughout the county, voters should take these opportunities to engage directly with candidates and see for themselves who they are voting for.

When one is voting for a Republican because they are a Republican, or a Democrat because they are a Democrat, what gets lost is a sense of the person, their convictions and what they will do to make Beaufort County a better place.

Challenge yourself to go beyond the alphabet soup of D-R-I-C-G (Democrat-Republican-Independent-Constitution-Green), and consider who you are really voting for. While a candidate’s listed party can tell you something about what they believe politically, the “D” or “R” beside their name can only tell you so much about who they are as a person.

In 2013, a Voter ID law went into effect for the state of North Carolina. One provision of this law eliminated straight ticket voting in the state. While the voter ID provision was later struck down in court, the elimination of straight-ticket voting remained.

This was a good thing. Because this law removed the easy option of voting for party rather than people, voters are now more likely to research candidates for themselves, or at least give consideration to the individual names on the ballot.

Later this fall, the first day of early voting, The Washington Daily News will print a special section listing information about candidates for state and local offices. While this publication may help voters learn a bit more about their candidates, there is no substitute for getting out and meeting them for yourself.