Today is Election Day.  We have gone to the polls, and they are now closed.  We have begun counting the votes, and we have begun to feel the relief of knowing the next election is a year away.  Yet even now it is not too early to think about how we might improve the process.

One of our biggest concerns here at the Prince William-Manassas Family Alliance is getting candidates to answer our candidate surveys.  Such a survey provides the most efficient means of determining where a candidate stands on a broad array of issues.  Unfortunately, many candidates refuse to answer surveys such as ours.

Why do some candidates refuse to complete our candidate survey? There is no pat answer to that question.  For example, here is how a Conservative organization that prepares voter guides for the citizens of Arkansas answered the question.

Q: Why did some candidates refuse to complete the Family Council candidate survey?
A: Only the candidate who refused to complete the survey would be able to answer that question. Voters are encouraged to contact individual candidates for the answer to this question. (from here)

So how can candidates be persuaded to complete candidate surveys?   The same Arkansas organization left the problem in the hands of the voter.

Q: Is it OK to contact candidates who did not complete the survey and encourage them to complete it?
A: Yes. Their contact information is listed on this website.  (from here)

If knowing where the candidates stand on important family related issues is important to you, then it is up to you — the voter — to insist that candidates be forthright.

Our questionnaire is non-judgmental; we do not endorse candidates for office.  In addition, we cannot pressure candidates to be responsive.  Only you, the voters, can make it more or less rewarding for candidates to let us all know where they stand on the issues.   So please keep that thought in mind during the coming year.  If you want the candidates to respond to issue surveys, you must let them know.  That way the next time the first Tuesday in November rolls around you will know exactly where the candidates stand on the issues that matter to you.

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