WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — According to the Forsyth County Board of Elections, there are 28 candidates who have filed for the eight Winston-Salem City Council seats and the mayor’s office. It is the most candidates who have run for the eight city council seats and mayor’s office in more than a decade.
John Dinan, a Wake Forest University political science professor, said the large pool of candidates is good for the democratic process.
“What we know is when you have competitive elections it boosts turn out and the last thing you want is uncontested elections. From a democratic theory perspective, it’s better to have contested elections than uncontested elections,” said Dinan.
Filing records show there are 17 Democrats and 11 Republicans who’ve filed in the city council races. Dinan said that’s where the confusion comes in for voters who often don’t like choosing candidates within their own party.
“There’s no doubt that primaries are some of the toughest elections for voters to make sense of because we are not talking general election where you at least have a Republican or Democratic label next to name. We are talking about no party labels or same party and it can be confusing,” said Dinan.
Dinan thinks the large pool of candidates will improve voter turnout, since during a non-presidential election year voter turnout, especially in primaries, is very low.
Dinan said voters should think long and hard about skipping the primary as it is very important for heavily contested, local government races.
“It’s surprising that low turnout is the case because local elections have as much impact on people’s lives if not more impact on their lives than some of the national or state elections, yet historically it’s tough to get high turnout,” said Dinan.
For more information on the candidates visit: http://www.co.forsyth.nc.us/Elections/Documents/2013WinstonSalemPrimaryElection.pdf.
Early voting runs at the Forsyth County Government Center through September 7. The primary election is September 10 and the general election is November 5.