Updated: Nov 8
Restore the Balance (RTB) - La Plata Branch embarked on its first effort at non-partisan voter education and enhanced participation by distributing a candidate questionnaire to the candidates for the Bayfield and Ignacio school boards. The election was cancelled for Durango 9R as there were no contested positions.
Our democracy depends on informed voter participation and candidate willingness to share their positions on relevant issues. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to encourage citizens to cast informed votes in upcoming elections by providing candidate responses to issues.
RTB – La Plata Steering Committee, composed of 12 community leaders, convened a six-member subcommittee including Steering Committee members, experienced educators and a long-time voter education advocate. This team developed a survey relative to support for public education, the role of school board members and agreement with the RTB guiding principles. We distributed the questionnaires to all school board candidates from Ignacio and Bayfield.
Bayfield School Board candidate, Molly Orendorff, in our opinion, offered strong responses on the importance of public education, their role as board members, and support for the Restore the Balance principles. We thank the respondents for their time and consideration of these important questions.
We believe there is a reluctance to answer non-partisan questionnaires and that is influenced in part by the state of national political dialogue where extremism and a lack of civility is on full display. The nonpartisan League of Women Voters La Plata County received a similarly small number of responses to their survey of school board candidates; those results will be published on VOTE411.org effective October 9.
Looking ahead, RTB - La Plata will work to improve the participation and willingness of candidates and elected officials to share their positions on relevant issues with the voters. We look forward to a broader candidate evaluation process during the 2024 primary and general elections, and possibly in the spring city council elections.
This experience demonstrates the critical importance of informed voter engagement in our democratic process and the support across party lines of RTB Guiding Principles.