Our hope is that additional candidates choose to file for several local offices before the Feb. 28 filing deadline.
This doesn’t mean The Daily Journal is advocating for a change among any particular current officeholder. Instead, this is about the democratic process — the more candidates there are for a given contest, the more information voters will have before casting their vote.
There are several local, high-profile offices on the ballot this year. One would think these openings would lure several candidates and, by extension, help increase voter turnout.
Four seats are up for grabs on the Richmond County Board of Education. So far, two incumbents have filed as well as two challengers. If the race were to remain among only these four candidates, this means no primary and an all but meaningless general election as all four would automatically advance save for an underdog write-in candidacy.
Likewise, four seats are open on the Richmond County Board of Commissioners. To date, there are only three candidates and two of those are seeking reelection.
So far, there are no challengers for sheriff or clerk of Superior Court; only the current officeholders have formalized their candidacy.
Each of the three positions on Richmond County’s delegation to Raleigh is open as well. Two of the three officeholders currently face no competition.
Likewise, the seat for District 8 in the U.S. House of Representatives is open and, once again, only the incumbent has filed.
It’s wonderful to know the voters of Richmond County support their candidates time and again. That’s evident by the number of terms to which some officeholders have been reelected.
A United Nations report, however, notes that “competition for political power, through elections … makes politicians more likely to respond to peoples’ needs and aspirations.”
In addition, the more voices in a town hall-style debate in the weeks and months before election day leads to better informed voters who are able to vet candidates on a wider range of issues. The comments and positions taken during the campaign can then be used to hold politicians accountable during their term of service.
When running unopposed, however, a candidate need not say anything before election day.
The deadline for candidates to file is noon on Feb. 28. We hope more visit the county Board of Elections and put their name into the proverbial hat.