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From the Editor’s Desk: Here’s how you should vote


It’s with good reason that newspaper candidate endorsements have fallen by the wayside in recent years.

Newspapers, already struggling with declining circulation numbers and advertising dollars, are loathe to take stands that alienate half their readers, particularly at a time when our nation’s political discourse has grown increasingly fractious and hostile.

But it’s more than that. Newspaper editors have heard the (fair) argument that backing candidates for political office is off-brand for publications that strive to be nonpartisan, unbiased purveyors of facts.

So, no, I won’t be telling you who to vote for in the upcoming May 16 municipal primary election (June 6 in New Jersey).

Honestly, I care more about how you vote — with thoughtful intention, hopefully — than which lever you pull.

All voters — Republican, Democrat or Independent — should support the candidates whose views, values and priorities best align with their own.

To ascertain which candidates those are, voters need to learn as much as they can about the people who are running. That’s why we’re partnering with the League of Women Voters of Bucks County and its again this year to print and distribute its voters guide and publish it online at

It’s true that the League has taken left-leaning stances on health care reform, the environment and immigration, but its voters guide gives candidates the chance to — in their own words — tell voters where they stand on key issues.

I asked the League for the list of questions it plans to ask.

For school board candidates, “What concerns or issues prompted you to run for School Board, and how do you propose to address them?”

For district justice, “Under what circumstances would you recuse yourself from a case?”

For county commissioner, “What is your highest priority if you are elected?”

These aren’t the sort of questions that favor one party over the other. They are clearly written to inform — not persuade — the voting public.

And the treatment we’re putting together for the printed voters guide prioritizes unbiased presentation of the responses.

We will be selling ad space in the voters guide, but candidates and political parties need not apply. They won’t be allowed to buy their way onto its pages.

There are 367 candidates running in Bucks County’s municipal primary.

To all 367, I say this: Fill out the League’s questionnaire. Tell the voters something about yourself and why you deserve their support. Show them that you respect them enough to give them more than just your name and party affiliation. The time you invest in filling out the form sends the right message. Ignoring the questionnaire does the opposite.

To the voters, please read the candidates’ answers with an open mind and decide for yourself who to elect.

The print product will include responses in Bucks County’s contested primaries in the following races: county commissioner, court of common pleas, county row offices, district justice, municipal council member/supervisor and school director.

The guide will run in the April 27 edition of the Bucks County Herald. It’ll also be available here on the Herald’s website.

Democracy functions best when representatives are responsive to the citizens and those who vote do their homework first.

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