Ballot filling up for election season

Feb. 14, 2014 @ 04:05 PM

The filing period for candidates for the next round of elections opened at noon on Monday. While it is still early in the filing period, which wraps up at noon Feb. 28, the indications so far are that there is a lot of interest in running this year.

Even with the foul weather disrupting filing earlier this week, contested races have already emerged. More are likely since two weeks remain for candidates to toss their hats in the ring. 
We encourage voters to pay attention to who is filing and to be as educated as possible about candidates when it comes time to cast ballots. Be aware of what issues the people you will be selecting to represent you are likely to face.
For example, the school board is dealing with some significant challenges that include implementation of the Common Core, the hiring of a new superintendent and the continued effort to raise Durham Public Schools’ lagging test scores. Some of the races for school board seats are contested.
The race for sheriff also is contested, as are some of the local judicial, General Assembly and congressional office races.
Our point today is not whether it’s time for change or whether one political position is better than another – that will be something voters will determine at the polls.
Instead, what we find encouraging and want to spotlight is the interest this election seems to be generating. We hope it generates interest from voters, too, and that turnout will trump apathy.
In an era in which discourse is often irresponsible, rude or nonexistent, we applaud candidates who are willing to shoulder the responsibility of public office, and all the attention and confrontation that comes with that. Take, for example, the legislature in Raleigh. Serving in the General Assembly this past session was a particularly ugly task. Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, who had served since 1997, was among those who said she had had enough and could not effectively work in that environment. Instead, she said she thought she would be able to advocate more for causes she believes in outside elected office. We respect her personal choice. However, if people are unwilling to run, nothing will change. The number of people who have filed for elected office so far is an encouraging counterpoint to that reluctance.
The winner come Election Day ultimately will be the voters who will benefit from being able to choose among people with different ideas for how best to lead.