Wednesday, February 06, 2013

LWV to allow write-ins to participate in candidates' forum

I read with interest a recent letter to the editor from Kathleen Propp of the Winnebago County League of Women Voters, in which she stated that those people who have registered as write-in candidates for the spring Oshkosh Common council election WILL BE invited to participate in the League’s upcoming forum.  Simply put, this is just wrong, in my opinion.

The League’s stated reason for this unusual move is that with three open seats and only two candidates whose names will appear on the ballot, it is likely one of the two write-ins will be elected to the other seat and this will give voters the right to know something about them.

I understand what they’re saying but do we really want to see either of these candidates elected to the council? Personally, I don’t think either one of the two write-ins should get elected. After all they took out nominations papers and either didn’t get them returned on time (Don Binder) or turned them in with so many errors that several names were rejected, leaving that candidate (Brian Poeschl) without enough signatures to get on the ballot. Neither of those situations instills any confidence in me that they will act with any greater care or responsibility when it comes to performing their duties, if elected. Will they carefully read the material about matters on which they’ll be voting – more carefully than they did their instructions for the filing of nomination papers? Will they take the time to read it at all, in its entirety? Or will they perform in a slack-jaw, lazy manner with this, too? I would hope they would take their responsibility seriously and read all the material, understanding time is often of the essence in politics. But they’re certainly not starting out too well, nor establishing a good track record.

If I had to pick one of the two I’d go with Poeschl, since he at least tried. But the problem I have there is he’s served on the Common Council before and has also run in other elections after his original time of service. So he knows how to fill out the forms and should have checked over his paperwork more carefully before turning it in at the 11th hour when he had no ample time to get the errors fixed.

I’ve stated in an earlier editorial that I see this move on the part of these two candidates as being very opportunistic and taking the lazy-man’s way out, especially since they know one of them is bound to get elected by default. My position is nothing personal with either of these two. I personally like Brian Poeschl, having been acquainted with him for many years; I don’t know Don Binder at all – wouldn’t even know him if I passed him on the street. My position is based solely on how they’ve approached this. I don’t think we should be rewarding write-in candidates with the same ability to participate in debates that the other candidates who followed the rules of the process get.

Finally, the League may be setting another bad precedent with this move. In the past they’ve allowed friends or family members of candidates to read prepared statements at the forums of the candidate themselves couldn’t be there; now they’re allowing write-in candidates to participate in the “debate.” Seems like just one more step down that slippery slope for the League.    

What do you think? Leave us a comment and/or vote in the poll to the right. 


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