Deciding Who to Vote For: Consider These Six Things


When multiple candidates are running for a position, how will you decide which one will get your vote?

For me, a systematic approach is helpful. First, I gather the facts about each candidate using the internet and reliable sources. Then, I compare candidates based on these six elements:

1. Issuance platform

What does each candidate want to accomplish if elected? were they accurate? What do they consider “success”? Do they share my priorities and positions on issues?

2. Time spent in residence

How long has each candidate lived in the constituency they represent? Have they been there long enough to understand local issues and their history? Do they know what has been tried in the past, what worked and what failed? Possible “third rails”?

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3. Community Service

What did each candidate do before running for this position? Have these experiences shown a commitment to the wider community and prepared them to be effective in this role? Have incumbents running for office demonstrated a willingness to listen to the people they represent? Did I agree with their votes on issues important to me?

4. Training and work experience

What is the education and work experience of each candidate? Are they sufficient to allow them to successfully fulfill this role?

Sandy Parker

5. Public image

What do each candidate’s website, social media and campaign ads say about them? What messages do the campaign slogan, photos and images they have chosen convey? Whose endorsements were accepted and made public? What conclusions can be drawn from the amounts, sources and uses of their campaign funds?

6. Overview

In addition to evaluating each candidate individually, I also consider the governing body as a whole. How important is institutional knowledge? Is all “new blood” necessary, or is a mixture of old and new preferable? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the members who are not standing for election this year? What are the missing skills that new members could add, and which candidate(s) could bring those skills?

Only you know what is important to you. Carefully consider all of your options. So get out there and vote!

Naples resident Sandy Parker is the founder and publisher of Sparker’s Soapbox. You can visit their website at and sign up for their monthly newsletter.

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