KGNU is partnering with the League of Women Voters of Boulder County on a monthly commentary series called Making Democracy Work for All! which focuses on educating listeners on the workings of state and local government and letting them know how they can get involved at different stages of the political process. This month Susan Saunders takes a look at the upcoming local elections.
It’s nearly time to vote in your local elections. October 16 is the first day the County Clerk will be mailing out ballots to voters. You will be able to exercise your right to vote on 3 county issues and probably 2 or more city issues affecting the community in which you live, depending on where you live. You may also be selecting amongst the candidates clamoring for your vote to be members of city councils and school boards or mayors, again depending on where you live.
While the ballot issues are too numerous to review in this commentary, there are several good sources of information available to you as we lead up to the election. The LWVBC is a non-partisan, non-profit, political organization with the mission to educate voters so they can make their own informed decisions.
We produce and distribute ballot issue information in printed form at local libraries and community centers, as well as on line. The pamphlets inform voters of the major provisions of the ballot measure, some background concerning the measure, and statements from supporters and opponents of the measure. You can find the online versions at www.LWVBC.org . On the home page, just click on “Voting & LWV” to find the ballot issues and the pros and cons.
The League chooses to support, oppose or remain neutral on the year’s ballot issues, depending on position statements we have established on the local, state and national level. We never state our choices in the information pamphlets, but we will post them on our website after our candidate forums have been held.
Another good source of information can be found at the County Clerk’s website. That’s www.bouldercounty.org/elections. Pro and con statements on this site may be from organized supporters or opponents, staff writers, or may have been submitted by individuals. Soon you will be receiving a printed version of the Clerk’s information, at the same address where you registered to receive your ballot.
Of course, you’ll be seeing information from candidates in many forms: mailings, leaflets at your door, newspaper articles and campaign advertisements. A consolidated site for information, you can use in comparing candidates, is VOTE411.org.
This is an online service the League uses to invite all candidates in a particular race to answer a set of 3 or 4 questions. Each candidate who chooses to respond, enters his or her own answers along with some biographical information.
You, the voter, can go to VOTE411.org, enter your home address and see exactly what will be on your ballot, both the candidates and the ballot issues with pros and cons. You will be able to make side-by-side comparisons of the candidates’ answers to the question set. We intend, and hope, that VOTE411.org will serve as a tool to help you choose between candidates and to select those you think best suited for the duties of members of city council, the school board, the mayor, etc.
The last trick up our sleeve, to make sure you are informed before marking your ballot, is to hold public meetings to discuss the ballot issues or present candidate forums for races in which one or more candidates are competing for the same position. At the forums the candidates answer questions, collected from the public via email or from audience members during the forum, and presented by the moderator. Each candidate has one or two minutes to answer, rotating through all candidates for each question. This allows the audience members to make “instant” comparisons on a variety of topics. You should see announcements of these forums in local papers, on our website, on our Facebook page and even on VOTE411.
We sincerely urge you to learn all you can, carefully consider the information and make informed choices as you exercise your right to vote. Contact us any time at LWVBC.org. Remember, voting locally impacts you.