Our Voice: Campaign season brings misinformation -- Voters beware

September 17, 2013 

citizens lifestyle prevention sign pasco vote election voting

September 16, 2013 - Karl Walterskirchen, left, and Jan Tomlinson put up signs in west Pasco this week to raise support for two propositions by Citizens for Lifestyle Preservation. They hope to undo the recent annexation of the so-called "doughnut hole" county areas in Pasco and change the city's government to one with a strong elected mayor.

KAI-HUEI YAU — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

The General Election is Nov. 5 and a new crop of campaigns signs can be seen around the region. Advertisements are running on radio and TV.

The messaging is everywhere and quickly can get overwhelming.

What makes deciphering the information even more of a challenge is that some of it is deliberately crafted to be confusing.

To vote, you must be 18 or older, the age that is deemed adult in our society. And with that comes the responsibility of researching the candidates and issues on the ballot.

That's right, adults still need to do their homework to make informed decisions.

Most of us would research cars before buying a new vehicle. Same for TV sets and cellphones. We want the best deal with the most features.

Think of the election in the same terms. Who will do the best for the people, take care of the public's money and deliver results?

When your ballot comes in the mail, take some time to peruse it along with your online voter's guide. Franklin County voters can find information on state and local races, initiatives, measures and more online at tinyurl.com/FC-Elex. The web address for Benton County's online voters pamphlet is tinyurl.com/BC-Elex.

You'll find information about a candidate's community service and previous experience. You'll find information about state initiatives. Read the explanations carefully. Sometimes "reject" can seem like "yes" and vice versa. Local measures are described along with pro and con arguments.

It almost seems like some campaigns are counting on voters not to do any research and just react to a sign or advertisement. And that would be a mistake. Regardless of which way you vote, we're happy that you participate. But no matter what or who you're voting for, do your homework before casting your vote.

One sign in Pasco really could throw voters off track. "Protect Pasco Voting Rights: Approve Propositions 1 & 2."

Who wouldn't want to protect voting rights? Dig a little deeper and read the propositions and you'll see that one is to reduce the size of the city of Pasco by removing some portions that have been annexed in recent years and the other is to replace the current council-manager form of government with a council-mayor form of government.

So "Protect Pasco Voting Rights" may not quite be as clear as it seems from the campaign sign.

In West Richland, "Save Flat Top Park" signs have been posted around town, but voters won't find the topic on their ballots. Some candidates in West Richland races may be hoping to make the popular park a campaign issue, but the city's administration insists there are no plans to close the park. In fact, the city recently has added land to the park.

You can read the master plan for West Richland parks at tinyurl.com/WR-Parks. Nothing in the document suggests Flat Top Park is in danger.

The Herald editorial board will be making recommendations based on our in-person interviews of candidates and individuals for and against various measure and initiatives. We've had the luxury of meeting with most of them and asking questions. Use that information as you see fit.

Remember if you're doing your research online, the state's voters guide information is factual. Bring a skeptic's eye when using other sites. Just because it's online doesn't make it true.

Be a voter who makes decisions and is not swayed by clever or deceiving advertising. It's your right to vote however you choose, but make sure you know what you're choosing.

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