6 Things to Consider When Evaluating Candidates

Get Ready to Vote

Deciding who to vote for in state and local elections can be difficult.

First, gather the facts using the internet and trustworthy sources like Sparker’s Soapbox. Then, here are 6 things to consider in deciding how you’ll vote:

1. Time in residence

How long has each candidate lived in the district they are running to represent? Have they been there long enough to understand the local issues and their history? Do they know what’s been tried in the past, what succeeded and what failed? Possible “third rails”?

2. Career and community service

What has each candidate done before running for this office? How have those experiences prepared them to be an effective public servant? Does their past community service demonstrate a commitment to wanting to serve the people they’re running to represent?

3. Formal education

To what extent do you think formal education is relevant to their ability to successfully fulfill this role? If relevant, what is the highest level of education they attained? What schools did they attend? What subjects did they major in?

4. Issue platform

What do they want to accomplish if elected? Have they been specific? What do they consider “success”? Do you share their priorities and positions on issues?

5. Public image

What do their websites, social media, and paid campaign advertising say about them? What is their campaign slogan? What pictures and images have they chosen? Whose endorsements have they sought and publicized? What impressions can you draw from the amounts, sources and uses of their campaign funds?

6. The big picture

In addition to evaluating each candidate individually, consider the governing body as a whole. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the members who are not up for election this year? What skills are missing that new members could add, and which candidate(s) could bring those skills? How important is continuity of knowledge? Is all “new blood” what’s needed, or is a mix of old and new better?

Only you know what’s important to you. Carefully consider all your options. Then get out and vote!

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