Editorial: Civic election could be daunting

Numerous candidates on ballots mean voters need to do their homework

They’ve been lightly grilled at all candidates meetings, fielded questions from the community and on Saturday, a long list of candidates will be served up to voters on a silver platter.

It will be a daunting task for voters to choose from the menu on offer in this year’s civic elections. The trick is to know what you’re getting for your vote and to choose only the best. If that means being a picky eater at the smorgasbord, so be it.

First, don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach. Don’t try to fill out the ballot out of obligation. Do read everything you can about the candidates and match their issues with yours. Democracy is best serve to the discriminating palate.

All the candidates on the ballot have attempted to put their best foot forward and all say they can do the tough job of budgeting, making decisions about garbage and planning for development. But can they?

It’s the voters’ job to figure out who has the ingredients to run a city well. Who works well with others? Who will stand up for city rights when developers come to town? Who will chart the course of the region for the next three years? Those are questions you need to ask yourself on — even better, before — election day.

Don’t go for the easy choice — the name you recognize or the fresh face you see in an election brochure who you never heard of before. Do your homework to find those candidates who have worked behind the scenes to gain a good knowledge of the city and how it works. Think twice before choosing candidates who only show up on election day or who have been warming a seat at the council or school board table for years unless you truly believe they are up to the job.

It’s up to voters to make the distinction between the has-beens, also-rans and naive newbies, and many groups and organizations have tried to make it easy for voters by putting together menus and lists for voters to savour. Knowledge is power and the more you know, the better you will be at choosing the best candidate for the job.