Let’s use more common sense when voting

Published 12:01 am Sunday, July 12, 2015

In just over three weeks, Adams County voters will head to the polls for the Republican and Democratic primary elections for a myriad of local offices, most notably sheriff, four of the five county supervisor seats and both the chancery and circuit court clerks.

Do you know who will get your vote yet?

Elections are funny things. We place immense importance on elected office holders, but often do next to nothing to find out which candidate will earn our vote.

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Ballots should have a legal description of the office, what the office holder is responsible for actually doing and then a brief description of each office seeker’s qualifications.

Perhaps that might dissuade some voters from casting votes for incompetent bozos.

We’ve all come across an elected official who is floundering and thought, “Now how on earth did that person convince others to vote for him?”

The worst comes with incompetent leaders, crooks even, are reelected by voters.

Completely make a mockery of the office?

No worries; just apologize and all will be OK.

Voters have a short memory, usually, which is sad. But it’s understandable, as most voters seem to fall into one of two voter categories — alphabetical or familiar.

The alphabetical folks will pretty much vote for anyone with a D or an R beside their name, trusting that political party bosses will vet the candidates and the best one will wind up on the ballot.

That line of thinking makes things easy. All one has to do is show up on Election Day, pick which letter you like and punch the box on the ballot.

That approach works best in national or statewide general elections, but falls apart miserably in local primary elections.

The other practice, voting by familiarity, includes people who vote largely by either a passing familiarity with the candidate, a candidate’s relatives or just the name on the ballot.

Under this scenario, only fleeting knowledge is needed to be able to say, “I’m a Dapper Dan man.”

Just like the character, Ulysses Everett McGill in the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” suggested as he threw a fit over a particular kind of hair pomade, these voters only want to pick what seems familiar.

Qualifications don’t matter; experience doesn’t matter either.

If, like me, you find yourself sort of somewhere between these two camps, I hope you’ll try to find the time to attend two local candidates’ forums scheduled for this week.

The Natchez Democrat and the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce are partnering to host the events at the Natchez Convention Center on Monday and Tuesday nights from 5 to 8 p.m.

On Monday, candidates for constable, coroner, chancery clerk, tax assessor and sheriff will take the stage to tell voters more about themselves as well as answer questions that are submitted in advance.

Tuesday night, circuit clerk candidates will take the stage along with the group of people vying for the four contested county supervisors seats.

If you have a question you’d like to submit, please send to me, and I’ll make sure it gets into the proper hands.

But most important, please take the time to get informed and learn as much as you can about the candidates before heading to the voting booth next month. It’s important that we all take the privilege of voting seriously and become better, more intelligent voters.

Let’s vote by brains not by letter or familiarity.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.