Videos give voters key information
Editor: With municipal election turnouts running at around 30 per cent in B.C., it’s time to acknowledge some obvious truths — truths that are literally staring us in the face. I’m referring to the ocean of election signs that litter our streets, and soon will litter our landfills. Candidates use these election signs to “get their name out there,” not realizing that these signs do most of them no good at all.
Many people don’t vote in local elections because all they know about the horde of candidates is the names they’ve seen on their signs — with little or nothing about the person. Many see the waving ocean of signs, and all those meaningless names, and just give up.
One candidate seems to acknowledge reality. On Nov. 8 you published a story about Petrina Arnason, a candidate for Township council, saying she has heard complaints about visual clutter, but hasn’t heard anyone question the ecological impact of all that plastic waste.
You reported that she is taking a stand by not putting up any election signs at all. Good for her. But that begs a question. How are we, the electorally illiterate electorate, supposed to know who to vote for if we aren’t given a sign?
A little sidebar below the Arnason story provides an answer. With no headline, the story states: “Potential voters…can check out candidate videos on The Times’ website, www.langleytimes.com.” And you note that fully 52 of the 58 candidates running for office in the City and Township have videos on your site. Excellent.
But that begs another question: Why not make it front page news — in every edition — that you are making these videos available? Then our candidates would know that their stories — not just their names — will be seen and heard by huge numbers of voters.
Voters would know that we have the opportunity to learn those stories through your website. I know you publish a pull out section (“Langley votes”) that gives candidates an opportunity to respond to your questions, but if your website was heavily publicized, and perhaps gave visitors an opportunity to ask questions of candidates, I think it could double the turnout at our next municipal election.
It would also sharply reducing the flow of plastic into our landfills.
Editor’s note — We have frequently mentioned the videos in the pages of The Times, and we thank the letter writer for doing so again. They will remain online until Friday.