The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

February 23, 2014

Could you be a candidate?

Saturday, February 22, 2014 — RALEIGH — The 2014 campaign season may have started months ago when candidates began raising money, outlining their messages and jockeying for position in their respective primaries.

But as of Feb. 10, candidates now have to make it official as the candidate-filing period has opened here in North Carolina. All candidates must file with the board of elections to appear on the ballot, and they will have from now until the end of February to do so.

Some candidates are already well known and have publicly stated their intentions to run, especially contenders for higher-profile or statewide races, but there always seems to be a few surprises when the filing period officially opens.

The requirements to be a candidate vary depending on which office a person is seeking, but at the most basic level everyone planning to run for office must be a resident of North Carolina and at least 21 years of age. Candidates must pay a filing fee when declaring as well, which can run from almost $1,750 for congressional candidates to $5 for someone running for soil and water conservation district supervisor.

Counting all races on the ballot across the state, we might have anywhere from 1,500 to 2,000 candidates officially file paperwork to run for office. The May 6 primary will whittle that number down, but voters still might have upward of 20 races on their ballot when it comes time to vote in November. That includes everything from contests for the U.S. Senate and Congress to county commission and judicial races.

While running for office might seem intimidating or impossible to the average citizen, the candidates on the ballot truly are our neighbors, colleagues, friends and family. All it takes is an interest in bettering your community and some money for the filing fee and pretty much any North Carolinian can declare themselves a candidate for office.

Of course, what comes next after filing for office might not be so obvious. Sure, you would have to raise at least some money, though local races often aren’t as expensive as you might think. You will get plenty of media requests and invites to speak at candidate forums and other community events as well. But the most important job of any candidate will be talking to voters.

If anything, we need more candidates interested in discussing real issues with real voters, and less that are only interested in tearing down their opponent with negative attacks. At the end of the day, politics and elections are a debate about issues and which direction is best for our community and our state. Healthy competition in these races is good for our democracy.

Unfortunately, many of the races on the ballot this year will be unopposed and feature only one candidate, leaving voters with no real say when they enter the polling booth on Election Day. When that happens, it robs voters of a substantive debate and our democracy suffers.

When the candidate-filing period ends on Feb. 28, go ahead and check out who’s running for office in your area. And if you don’t like what you see, consider running yourself next time.

Our democracy performs best when voters have real choices, and it’s up to us to make it happen.

Brent Laurenz is executive director of the N.C. Center for Voter Education and a contributor to TheVoterUpdate.com.

He can be contacted at laurenz@ncvotered.com.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 19, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    WASHINGTON - The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 19, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 12, 2014

  • Brent Laurenz If you want to vote in primary, you need to register to vote now

    RALEIGH – North Carolina voters will head to the polls on May 6 this year to cast ballots in important primary elections across the state.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scott Mooneyham Heeding the voter fraud call in N.C.

    RALEIGH – Legislators found the findings outrageous.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Roots

    I took a few minutes over the weekend to enjoy our yard and the arrival of spring. There seems to be so much work that needs to be done, it is hard to decide what to do first. I am excited that I got to run my tiller through the garden. I didn’t go very deep, but I did at least break up the soil. I have a couple of raised beds and the soil in them was in very good shape. I didn’t plant my peas and now after the big rain we got on Monday I realize that I missed a window of opportunity.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season

    My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

    April 11, 2014

  • Is a paleo vegetarian diet possible?

    Research shows most people can follow a regimented eating plan for a short time. That's not the challenge. The challenge is finding a healthful eating plan you can follow day after day and achieve your long-term health goals. At this point, it doesn't appear that the paleo eating plan meets these objectives for most people.

    April 10, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 2.16.35 PM.png Are Americans smart to stop drinking diet sodas?

    Recent data from Beverage Digest suggest many are cutting back on diet sodas. Consumption of diet sodas fell more than that of sugary sodas in 2013. This raises two questions: Why is total consumption declining, and is drinking diet soda harmful to health?

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content