Voters should have a choice

Published 9:08 am Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It has been said that ours is the worst form of government — except for all the others.

We agree. While our representative form of democracy at all levels — federal, state and local — can at times be messy, combative and ineffective, it is also the best thing going, and so as Americans, we embrace and defend it.

Our form of government provides great personal freedoms unmatched nearly the world over. Among them, most notably, is the freedom to speak in opposition to government policies and the elected leaders who enact them.

Yet the freedom we enjoy carries with it tremendous individual responsibilities, chief among them being the duty incumbent on all of us who enjoy these freedoms to actively participate in our government.

Participation, at a bare minimum, requires citizens to vote. It also requires some to step to the front and actively engage in the political process.

Fewer than four months remain between now and Election Day in November. And while some local offices are being contested, a number are not. In Southampton County, only three candidates have surfaced to challenge the seven incumbent members of the Board of Supervisors. To date, the county treasurer and commissioner of revenue remain unopposed.

We do not suggest that any specific holder of a public position should be voted out of office, nor do we endorse any particular candidate for the positions mentioned. We do, however, recognize the importance of voters having a choice come election time. Limiting voters to the choice of voting for an incumbent or not voting at all does little to encourage citizen participation. We hope this situation changes between now and August’s filing deadlines.