Opinion

EDITORIAL | Informed voting makes a difference

This is it. The home stretch before The South Whidbey Record’s big day.

Next week, we will officially join the ranks of groups and organizations who work tirelessly every year to educate voters with those most worthy and informative affairs — political forums.

The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Clinton Community Hall and will be held in partnership with the Clinton Progressive Association.

Participants will include Langley residents Betty Bond and Rocco Gianni for Position 5 on the South Whidbey School Board; Clinton residents Curt Gordon and Ed Jenkins for Position 3 on the Port of South Whidbey’s Board of Commissioners; and Freeland residents Captn Blynd and Bob Hezel for Position 3 on the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District’s Board of Commissioners.

While it’s highly unlikely this will be a first for the 90-year-old newspaper, it will be the first forum we’ve held in recent memory and, quite frankly, it’s long overdue.

Informed voting matters, a lot. In fact, at times it seems there is hardly anything more dangerous than a voter who is armed with a pen but doesn’t have a clue — that person who checks the box for Mr. Smith because they knew a guy in high school with the same last name and he was cool so the candidate must be too.

Perhaps some people don’t pay attention because they are busy with daily life or maybe they don’t have the time or patience for politics. Considering the ongoing and embarrassing disfunction of our chosen leaders in Washington D.C., it’s hard to blame them.

Reliance on the platforms of political parties almost certainly has a role as well. It’s far too easy to sit on the sidelines of ignorance and simply vote along party lines.

That’s a little more difficult with non-partisan races, such as those that will appear on the November ballots of South Whidbey voters, but no doubt some still won’t take the time to learn who the candidates are and what they stand for, or what that bond measure is about and whether it is or isn’t needed.

Almost certainly that lack of interest, time or effort has an impact on voter turnout. In the August primary election, only 9,553 of the 23,741 registered voters in Island County turned in a ballot.

That’s a voter turnout of just 40 percent. We can do better. We deserve it and so do our children.

Monday’s forum isn’t just The Record’s big day, it’s a big day for South Whidbey. It’s one of several opportunities for voters to garner a bit of knowledge before the Nov. 5 election, knowledge that just might shape our future.

Informed voting matters. It really does.

 

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