Research candidates before voting

Published 9:35 pm Wednesday, June 4, 2014


here’s nothing quite like voting in an election after reporting on each of the candidates.

Tuesday’s election was my second ever, but it did mark one first — the first time I was ever truly informed about each candidate. Not only had I talked to each incumbent prior to announcing their candidacy, I also interacted with them once races began.

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For the challengers, I only had one or two opportunities.

Granted, candidates can say whatever they like. It may not necessarily be true, but researching past history for incumbents is relatively easy. If an incumbent votes against a particular measure or is historically opposed to a certain issue, it’s easy to judge whether their speech is useless rhetoric or promises that can be kept.

The only way to truly gauge a candidate’s ability for office is by analyzing his or her history of decision making, regardless of whether or not they have direct experience in public office.

Sometimes, candidates for office have never served in a particular capacity. Businessmen and lawyers frequently run for U.S. Congress or the Alabama Legislature.

If a candidate promises change, perhaps it’s useful to take a look at how their business or law firm implemented new, technology or tactics in recent years.

In most cases, voters probably rely on second-hand information or read candidates’ campaign pamphlets. In rare cases, voters actually talk to candidates in person for extensive amounts of time.

Goals and promises seem meaningless once candidates take office. Sometimes, current events shape decision making, which is why a little information on a candidates character can go a long way.

It’s unfortunate that many voters don’t take a look at candidates before voting.

Votes shouldn’t be based on emotion or false rhetoric. Instead votes should be an informed decision. Even one hour is better than going to the polls knowing nothing except for pictures and promises on campaign signs.

The election is over and little can be done locally in 2014 races, but for upcoming, state-wide races, I challenge all voters to take some time to learn who the candidates are.

Public officials in Dallas County handle millions of tax dollars. State and national officials handle millions more.

Isn’t an hour or so of research worth the risk of ensuring a candidate spends your taxpayer money in a manner that you agree with?