Voting in groups harms democracy

Groups of incumbents to the detriment of outside candidates, essentially shuts the door to new ideas

There can be a tendency when things are going particularly well in a jurisdiction, such as municipalities or school boards, to lean toward a kind of groupthink mentality.

Much like a successful sports team that fires on all cylinders and works well together to achieve positive results, elected bodies and their supporters can get so taken with the collective success that they promote keeping the group intact for another term. Doing so, the public is led to believe, ensures a continued bright future for their jurisdiction.

A group of candidates for Greater Victoria School District 61, serving View Royal, have banded together to collectively campaign this time around. The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has backed a slate of municipal candidates running for election in the City of Victoria.

The problem with such scenarios is that focusing on groups of incumbents to the detriment of outside candidates essentially shuts the door to new ideas. It promotes an old boy’s/girl’s network in which the status quo is held up as the best road into the future.

While there are varying degrees to such thinking, candidates who seek the protection of the group rather than running on their own merits are not showing the kind of leadership we expect and deserve from the people we elect to public office.

Research into voting patterns has shown that the busy electorate, “burdened” with having to do their own research, tend to tick off the names they know if they haven’t investigated candidates. Name recognition is not a good enough reason to cast your ballot for a candidate.

In keeping with the sports analogy, even championship teams retool every year as a way to ensure they stay fresh and continue to improve.

We encourage West Shore voters to spend that extra bit of time checking out individual candidates and their qualifications/record. We guarantee you’ll feel better about your choices, no matter the results.