As election season is upon us citizens have been bombarded with candidates seeking a spot on City council.
To date, 25 Red Deerians have declared their candidacy for council – this includes 20 newcomers and five incumbents. There are also four candidates running for mayor as current Mayor Morris Flewwelling is not seeking re-election.
The level of interest in this year’s election and in municipal politics in general is a good thing. It’s nice to see people charged up about the election and about a variety of issues as well.
Any election can be sleepy if there are no issues or controversy but this year with two extremely strong candidates for mayor, that has really stepped up the game this time around. That is sure to be an exciting race as we predict it will be a close one.
However, 25 candidates for citizens to weed through and become well informed about so voters can make an educated vote is virtually impossible. Likely some voters will turn to name recognition as a means to making their choices which is in favour of the incumbents regardless of their performance. This can be good and bad. Of course some of the incumbents definitely deserve to be re-elected, but there also needs to be some change.
There is no solution to this unless the number of candidates is capped, but of course that could never happen. It is just too bad that voters are left to sort through the flood of candidates.
We saw this exact scenario in the 2004 election. There were 25 candidates at that time as well and it was tough for voters to keep things straight. Even at the forums they often went on for so long that towards the end people lost interest and many of the candidates were cut off due to time constraints.
It is also overwhelming to see that many names on the ballot.
However, the upcoming forums are a good way for Red Deerians to learn briefly about the candidates as they have very limited time to speak.
We are urging Red Deerians to really take the time to learn about each candidate and what they stand for. Attend the forums, contact the candidates directly and really do your research.
Now that election terms are four years instead of three, it is more important than ever to make sure educated votes are cast.
Don’t forget, voters don’t need to vote for all eight candidates – that is a common misconception. Pick a few that you really believe in and don’t fill up the ballot just because you feel you have to.