Editorial: Good guides for voters
As the election cycle enters the home stretch, citizens weary of robocalls, campaign ads and candidate mailings will agree with University of Central Florida history professor Scott French’s assessment that the final political barrage is “just way too much,” especially in a battleground state like North Carolina.
French was quoted in an Associated Press story, published in Tuesday’s Post, that talked about voters who are turned off by the hyperbole and hyper-partisanship of many political ads. Of course, those who’ve tuned in to two presidential debates might say the same about those formats. While they’re not campaign ads, debates are often long on promises and generalities but short on specifics, no matter how hard moderators try to pin things down.
What’s a voter to do? One answer is in your hands. Today’s Salisbury Post includes our comprehensive voter guide, with information about local and statewide races. While the Post provides ongoing election coverage in the daily newspaper, today’s guide provides a convenient overview to help voters familiarize themselves with races on their own timetable. Today’s guide may be particularly useful for early voters, but we’ll also publish a second version on Nov. 4, the Sunday before the election.
Although the Post strives to be the most comprehensive source for information about local races, there are many statewide offices on the ballot, along with the presidential contest. Voters feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of these “down ballot” races and candidates may want to consult a user-friendly online resource — the 2012 N.C. Voter Guide, compiled by the nonprofit N.C. Center for Voter Education and UNC-TV public television. The online guide (www.NCVoterGuide.org) has a feature that’s especially informative. By plugging in their address (no name necessary), users can scroll through a customized ballot that shows all of the races and candidates they’ll see on their ballot. By clicking on a few boxes, voters can then pull up basic biographical and issues information on many of these candidates, submitted by their campaigns. For instance, want to compare Sam Ervin and Paul Newby, vying for the N.C. Supreme Court, or Beth Wood and Debra Goldman, candidates for state auditor? Click a couple of buttons and side-by-side comparisons are on your screen.
For those who don’t have Internet access, the State Board of Elections continues to mail a guide with general voter information and background summaries on many statewide races.
Amid the political ad onslaught clogging the airwaves, citizens have other options for informing themselves before voting — and they don’t have to mute the volume or change the channel.