Editor's Note: The Crestview City Council election is March 12. The News Bulletin has sent questionnaires to office candidates and plans to publish their information leading up to the election so you can make an informed decision.
It has been less than three months since the last general election and, for the most part, the campaign signs have all but evaporated — except for about a half-dozen that still decorate our landscape.
Just when things start returning to normal, a fresh crop of colorful signs, much like mushrooms or fire ant mounds, seemingly pop up to catch our eyes and convey a simple message: vote for me!
If you see enough of these signs, you’ll know who has qualified for the campaign. You will learn the candidates' names, and if you slow, or stop to read them, you’ll learn which office an individual hopes to secure.
However, if you rely on the campaign signs to learn each office seeker's identity, I am sorry to state that these signs leave much to be desired. Unless the sign incorporates a photo of the candidate, you won’t even know on which side he or she parts his or hair — assuming the political hopeful has hair.
Here is a suggestion: learn something about those wanting your vote. What you have is highly desired by office seekers; a sufficient number of votes will put them in office for the next four years, while just one less than some other seeking the same office will put him, or her, into the “also ran” category.
Nationally, and even statewide, candidates will visit innumerable sites and make countless speeches, supposedly telling voters what they will do once elected and sworn into office.
Typically, this is not the case in local elections.
Most candidates are employed and must be at their jobs most days. They rely on door-to-door campaigning on weekends, a couple of ads in the newspaper, or taking part in various organizations' meet-and-greet sessions.
If you do not participate in these opportunities to learn something about an otherwise total stranger, what would be the basis for casting your vote?
Some organizations, or their representatives, will make a valiant attempt to persuade you to vote for a certain candidate. Frankly, they may be backing a well-qualified individual, or they may be backing an individual whom they feel will be easily manipulated and swayed once sworn in.
It is your responsibility to learn about the candidates and make an educated decision concerning who should be in office.
You are a part of the electorate, and allelected officials are in their positions because of votes cast by a majority of electorate members who have cast ballots.
It is up to you.
Don’t waste your vote on an individual because of gender, skin color, religion or any other distinguishing feature.
Learn about the candidates and vote for the ones you feel are best qualified to lead this city for the next four years.
Bob Allen is a former city councilman who lives in Crestview.