Archived Opinion

Election bill would encourage uninformed voting

I read the recent article by Rep. Mark Pless, R-Haywood, regarding partisan municipal elections . I am dismayed that this man will not give up on making these elections (as well as the School Board) partisan. Apparently he only answers to his GOP voters, not to all voters in Haywood County. He is not team player nor man enough to discuss his intentions with our local politicians this would affect. He prefers to blindside them and try to pass state laws to make them partisan.

I am sure the true reason is that his constituents (GOP voters contacting him) do not want to do any research on the candidates. They want to go to the polls uninformed and vote straight ticket. God forbid if they cannot be an informed voter and research candidates’ background, education and experience. As Pless says in his article “these voters are busy working jobs, active in church or local groups, raising children and just living life.”

They do not want to take the time to research the candidates and vote for the best one, but only want to vote party line. Maybe they should not vote period? Maybe when they vote if there is no “R” or “D” after the candidates name, they should simply not vote for that position (down voting)?

In Pless’ analogy about buying a car, he says, “I hope you don’t just show up on the lot, pick a color you like then drive home with it.” Well, sadly, when the voters see the “R” or “D” after the candidate’s name, they can vote without doing any research.

So, what is his point about the car buyer spending time to research the car, its repair record, resale value, MPG, etc.? Sounds like he is saying that voting does not require research but buying a car does?

Let’s take a look at unqualified candidates that were elected in Haywood County only because many of the voters did not take the time to check the candidate’s background. These candidates had an “R” after their name on the ballot. Madison Cawthorn (U.S. House of Representatives), Mike Matthews (Haywood County tax collector), Terry Ramey (county commissioner). I seriously doubt those candidates would have been elected had the uninformed voter not known the candidates’ party affiliation.

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I was a registered Republican all my voting life up until 2012 at which time I changed to unaffiliated. I take voting seriously I will spend several hours researching the candidate’s background. I am proud to be an informed voter. I will ALWAYS vote for the candidate, NOT the party.

I had read in the local paper, sometime back, that one of the poll workers said it was mostly GOP voters that would ask “how would they know how to vote for their part, with no ‘R’ after the name?” Why would they want to be an uninformed voter and not take the time to research the candidates, and the hell with the party.

Richard Florida ( is a prominent professor at the Rotman School of Management in Toronto. One of his studies showed both Democrats and Republicans see very little difference on local issues. That being said, if a voter does not want to take the time to do a little research on a non-partisan candidate, then they have several choices; do not vote on that position, research the candidate, or call Pless and ask him which candidate is the Republican so they know how to vote.

This is the problem with partisan voting. Many times the most highly qualified candidate does not win.

(Ron Rokstool lives in Maggie Valley.)

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