Candidate Participation in Voters Guide is Down

Aug 29, 2014

The League of Women Voters of Utah is releasing its voter’s guide on Monday in anticipation of the mid-term elections in November.   The number of candidates who participated is down this year.

During every election cycle, The League of Women Voters engages candidates running for office with questions on specific issues.  Jenn Gonnelly is Co-President of the Utah chapter of the League.

“We’ve asked them specific questions and asked them to tell us their answers in about 200 words. That’s about the amount of a letter to the editor. And we’re taking that completely unedited, completely without any bias and we are offering it to the public. The public should know what their candidates think. It’s a way of being educated when going to the polls,” says Gonnelly.

All of the state’s candidates were asked to participate including those running for seats in the state legislature, congressional seats and the office of Attorney General.  They were given a month to respond in writing to 3 or 4 questions.  Of the 209 candidates engaged, 81 responded by the August 1st deadline. That’s a response rate of only 39%.   Gonnelly says she and other league members continue to see the number of candidates participating going down.

“We are concerned that the candidates feel no obligation to interact with their public.  We are giving the candidates an opportunity to interact with a much wider range than say, knocking on doors. That people can go and read these responses in real time,” says Gonnelly.

All three incumbents holding congressional seats were among those who a failed to respond. And only one of the five candidates running for Utah Attorney General participated in the survey.  The complete voter’s guide will be available on the League of Women Voters of Utah website beginning Monday.