The League of Women Voters released a new 2014 voters’ guide this month to help inform local voters of current topics and political candidates.
Jenn Gonnelly, the co-president of the Utah chapter of the league, visited Weber State University earlier this month to speak about the league and answer questions about the new voters’ guide.
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan group with the goal of registering citizens to vote and keeping voters educated on current political topics and candidates. Gonnelly said the league believes competitive races result in better governing.
“The league is no more looking to switch this state to a blue state than we like it a red state,” Gonnelly said. “My goal isn’t to get a particular person elected. My goal is to make sure that our government is representative of every person.”
For its voters’ guide, the league formulated three or four questions for candidates to answer that would best help the public understand where each candidate stands on key issues. They emailed them to candidates and gave them a month to respond.
According to Gonnelly, the response rate by the candidates polled this last survey was only 39 percent, which she called disappointing.
Gonnelly maintains that a nonanswer is an answer, and the league is sure to make record in the voters’ guide if no answer was received. The guide also includes contact information for each candidate, and voters are encouraged to contact the candidates themselves.
“I’m bewildered by the lack of incumbents that answered,” Gonnelly said.
She believes that the voters’ guide is a great opportunity for any candidate to reach their public.
“To see the number of incumbents that chose not to answer, or not to participate, suggests to us that they are perfectly comfortable in those seats, and don’t think they have to respond. I know there are incumbents who don’t feel that way, but they need to be the example, and too few of them were during this election cycle.”