As we draw nearer to the mid term elections, as voters we all have a duty to research each and every candidate.
One of the things I have noticed, is the lack of voter education regarding the issues to consider.
1) Please make sure you understand what that office does or does not do before you vote. You might be surprised that the things that are important to you have no bearing on what that elected official could consider during their term in office. Can the County Clerk ever decide issues relating to health care? Can the local sheriff overturn Roe v. Wade on issues regarding abortion? No.
2) Please talk with individuals that work closely with the elected officials on a daily basis. What exactly does the Land Commissioner do? And how does the County Assessor affect me? Get to know the offices and what their job duties entail.
3) Encourage your friends and family to vote. Many say, if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain. I do not believe that to be true. I think if you don’t vote, you are circumentating a basic privilege that so many before us have fought for. We wake up every day blessed to have lived in a nation that preserves a right that so few countries have.
4) Take time to educate yourself with the facts. There have been several televised debates on many of the state wide offices. Many of those are available in archived sections with the Arkansas Press Association or AETN. Reach out to the candidates personally. Many have their information readily available in local publications or website. Call them and ask their stance on issues that are important to you.
5). Use your common sense. There is a jury instruction many of us trial lawyers call “the common sense instruction”. The instruction instructs jurors to come back to their common sense during their deliberation. As we say “don’t forget your common knowledge when deciding the verdict”. When you cast your ballot at the polls, please make sure you didn’t “check” your common sense at the door of the polling site, but apply it in reviewing the candidates.
Kimberly B. Dale – Principal in the law firm of Branch Thompson Warmath & Dale, P.A.