Voter turnout for the primary races this year was 22 percent. That seems low. It also seems to point to apathy.
Conversely, we invited readers to submit questions that we could ask the candidates when we interviewed them and we received hundreds of emails. Judging by response, interest in our election process seems quite high.
We thank people that took the time to submit questions and we used as many as we could in our interviews.
Some people asked questions specific to one race, or candidate or issue. For example, one question to Gordon Comfort was that when he left his position as principal of Richland High he said he wanted to spend more time with his family. If elected to the school board, would he have the time to devote to that position?
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(The answer was that being a school board member requires many fewer evenings than a high school principal must put in.)
Many other questions seemed to indicate a general dissatisfaction with leadership on the state and national level -- none of which are up for election this year so we weren't able to ask them this time.
It's interesting that people are agitated about national politics, but apathetic on the local level. Yes, that's a generalization, but spend a few minutes looking at the letters to the editor and you'll see a definite trend.
Many people who submitted questions seemed unaware of what races are on the ballot this year -- and we didn't even ask the question until after the primary.
Surely people opened their ballot and looked at it back in August? Well, with a 22 percent voter turnout, maybe they didn't.
While national and state elections are important, the closer you get to home, the bigger impact your elected officials have on your life.
People are generally more interested in Obama's movements than those of their city council members. But the local guys are the ones clearing the snow off your street and assessing ambulance fees.
Who you put on your city council or your school board really does matter.
One way to gather information about candidates is to read our recommendations. They will start appearing in the paper next week.
And here's an important disclaimer, even though we make election recommendations, we hope that nobody takes our advice at face value.
It should be only one tool in your election information tool box.
Another good way to get to know your candidates is to attend the candidate forums. Three are scheduled for this week.
You can meet and listen to those vying for Kennewick City Council and Kennewick School Board Monday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Union Street branch of the Mid-Columbia Libraries.
In West Richland there is a lunch meeting at noon Wednesday at the Sandberg Event Center to listen to West Richland City Council candidates. Lunch is optional for $15.
Richland City Council and Richland School Board hopefuls will be at the Richland public Library at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Pasco candidate forum was earlier this month.
We know from looking at our in box that people have questions for candidates. We encourage voters to take advantage of the opportunities to meet and quiz the candidates in person.