Races shouldn’t be popularity contests

Published 6:53 pm Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Voting isn’t always fun.

It’s a basic human right. It’s also a necessary function of our government. Without the ability to vote, the same people would likely rule our governments for decades.

But in many instances, candidates don’t make voting interesting for Dallas County residents. Apathy is often the biggest hindrance in a 100 percent voter turnout.

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Why should I vote for candidate A instead of candidate B?

Political races can quickly become popularity contests. It worked in high school. Bringing free pizza to school instantly garners at least of the votes. Adding ice cream secures a win, at least in high school.

In college student government races, things get slightly more serious. Still, the candidates are students and elections are popularity contests. Fraternities side with members or friends and sororities do the same.

Political races don’t exactly work when candidates provide free pizza and ice cream in real life, but friendships certainly matter.

In Dallas County’s elections, candidates should focus on real issues and make it important for voters to turn out. For example, if candidate A were elected, how would he or she make life better for local residents?

As a voter and Selma resident, I’d be interested to hear how candidates for the state legislature can direct more money to the Black Belt and create jobs. Additionally, how can candidates for the Alabama Legislature ensure more students are job ready or entering college after graduation?

In the Dallas County School Board District Five race, how can candidates ensure the needs of local students are being met?

The Dallas County Sheriff’s race is also an important election. How can each candidate decrease crime rates and ensure the safety of Dallas County residents?

As a voter, I want a clear plan of what candidates plan to do once in office.

Elected officials also have a duty to be available to the public. Dallas County residents pay salaries through taxes. Elected officials are also entrusted with the responsibility of determining the future of our area. Once elected, he or she owes a certain amount of time to the public.

Selma and Dallas County have their problems. With clear leadership from our elected officials, those problems are easily overcome. By listening to voters and ensuring their problems are addressed, perhaps voter turnout will increase.

To a certain extent, voters can do a better job of being informed. Rather than simply checking a box next to a friend’s, name ask him or her why they are running.

There’s still plenty of time. Election primaries aren’t until June 3. Until then, I’d advise reading about each candidate and learning how they plan to use their position, if elected.