News Views: Turn it out

With civic elections approaching, people in the community are beginning to complain about ‘frivolous’ political candidates.

With civic elections approaching, people in the community are beginning to complain about ‘frivolous’ political candidates.

But in a democracy, just like the right not to vote, everyone has the right to run for public office, as long as they get the required number of nominators and can pay the fees.

There is no criteria for qualifications.

Who gets the job is up to voters.

Trouble is, there are too few of those.

Just 25 of eligible voters in Maple Ridge cast ballots in the 2011 municipal election. About 30 per cent voted in Pitt Meadows.

For some, that’s not enough, raising concerns about who will be running the city.

That’s a good question.

Is it someone who supports the business community? Someone who is backed by unions or developers? Someone running on neighbourhood or environmental issues?

What matters to you?

You should know what each candidate stands for.

And it may seem like there are too many of them.

In Maple Ridge, there are 26 alone for six council seats and five more for mayor. Then there are 12 candidates for five Maple Ridge spots on the school board.

That is a lot of reading.

Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to get to know the candidates – newspapers, websites, social media and public meetings are just a few forums.

You have until Nov. 15 to get acquainted. The list of candidates in on the municipal websites.

Provincial and federal elections get 60 to 70 per cent voter turnout.

It doesn’t seem a lofty goal to get at least half the voters in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to turn out for the municipal elections.

It is your tax dollars they are spending.

– The News