March 5, 2014

Voters, candidates deserve debates

The Daily Citizen

— Qualifying for local elections doesn’t end until Friday, but it’s already clear voters will have some good choices. A number of men and women with long records of civic involvement have stepped forth to run for office. And while these individuals have accomplished much, this will be the first time many are in a contested political race. It is always good to see new candidates who may have new ideas and new ways of looking at important issues.

Several races in the May 20 primaries have multiple opponents, and we hope that many more do before qualifying ends. Voters deserve a choice. Strike that. Voters deserve an informed choice.

Just as these men and women have stepped forth, we hope that some of our local civic groups will come forward to put on debates between candidates in contested races and to allow candidates in uncontested races a forum to answer questions.

The League of Women Voters of the Dalton Area, local chambers of commerce and local tea party groups have sponsored such forums in the past. Perhaps they and other groups can come together to put on debates this spring.

If they do, The Daily Citizens looks forward to working with them to make those debates a success. We can help solicit questions from voters. We can stream the debates live on our website and archive them there for later viewing. And, of course, we will cover the debates.

Democracy is meaningless without choice, and choice is meaningless in an election if it isn’t an informed one. Voters deserve the opportunity to hear from the candidates and to see them challenge each other. We hope that local civic groups give voters that opportunity.