Start of election season means homework

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Strike up the band, the wagon’s coming through any minute now.

Election season got its official start at the stroke of 5 p.m. Tuesday when the folks at the circuit clerk’s office signed off on all the qualified applicants eyeing an elected office in our fine county.

A few November hopefuls began their celebration immediately upon learning no one would challenge them for the public eye.

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But for the others, the race is on.

For the rest of us, well, hold on.

Elections are the lifeblood of America. They are only intensified on the local circuit.

In Adams County — not unlike dozens of other counties — things can sometimes get a little ugly.

The first primary won’t be until Aug. 2 and the general election not until Nov. 8, so we’ll all be talking about elections for the next nine months.

Yard signs and bumper stickers will likely begin sprouting within the week, but true campaigning may not pick up steam until summer.

Rest assured, one of the 26 men and women in a contested race will surely want you on their wagon.

Despite the chance of election fatigue we’ll all face between now and November, the long window gives voters plenty of time to educate themselves.

The men and women who signed their names to qualification papers have, knowingly or not, agreed to open up their lives to you.

Get to know them. But don’t look for a friend or a “good guy,” look for a leader.

Our newspaper will do its best between now and August to introduce each candidate to the community. Though we won’t begin individual profiles until a bit closer to the elections, we will work to provide voters with all the information they need to make their own informed decision.

If you have a question you’d like to have answered, feel free to let me know. We aren’t afraid to ask anything.

Of course, don’t hesitate to do the asking yourselves.

Find the candidates on the street, in the phonebook or at a public event and ask away.

Too often, too many Americans get caught up in the popularity side of an election and not the informational side.

Yes, it’s your right and obligation to vote, but going to the polls without knowing whom you are voting for is a wasted vote.

For our system of democracy to work as it was intended, voters need to begin truly getting to know the candidates today.

Look for a leader who cares about the community, not just about the paycheck that may come with the job.

Look for a man or woman who speaks first in facts before delivering opinions. (And make sure their “facts” are really facts.)

Look for someone who will work well with others, not someone in it for their ego.

With the start of election season comes a mighty big homework assignment for the community — get to know the candidates.

Don’t procrastinate on your work, get started today and we’ll all be better for it tomorrow.

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or