Editorial: Online guide found lacking

Whidbey Island voters received their Nov. 3 general election ballots in the mail this week, but missing in the same batch of mail was the local voter’s pamphlet traditionally produced by the Island County Auditor’s Office.

The printed voter’s pamphlet fell victim to budget cutting and it sadly leaves a big gap in information available to the casual voter.

However, the Auditor’s Office did provide an online voter’s pamphlet. A check this week reveals good news and bad news. The good news is that candidates in the few contested races on North and Central Whidbey took advantage of the opportunity to expose themselves to the public.

Web browsers can find statements and photos of Scott Dudley and Gerry Oliver, who are seeking the only contested seat on the Oak Harbor City Council. The same is true in Coupeville, where the online guide includes photos and statements from council competitors Sue Cunningham and Tom Tack. Ditto for the North Whidbey Fire and Rescue board where Jerry Goen and Larry Morse are competing.

The bad news is that very few people in uncontested races took advantage of the online voter’s guide. Kudos to Oak Harbor City Council candidate Bob Severns for giving voters a look at his mug and a few reasons why he is running. It’s too bad that Jim Campbell and Danny Paggoa didn’t do the same.

Also posting no information for voters were Oak Harbor School Board candidates Gary Wallin and Corey Johnson, and Coupeville School Board candidates Jeffrey Tasoff, Kathleen Anderson and Chris Chan. All are unopposed, but they could at least have shown themselves to curious voters.

Whidbey Island Public Hospital District has three uncontested board positions on the ballot. The online guide doesn’t contain a thing about Grethe Cammermeyer or Paul Zaveruha. They should have done what Anne Tarrant did, which is post a picture and statement of credentials and goals.

The lesson from this year’s online voter’s pamphlet is that not enough candidates care to tell voters about themselves, unless they stand a chance of losing. Next time, every candidate should show voters some respect by participating.

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