Our Opinion: Be an informed voter


While it is certainly a different year for political campaigns and elections, it’s also a year when there are more options than ever to make an informed decision.

Being an American citizen comes with a bevy of freedoms, opportunities and obligations. One of those is being engaged in the very democracy that provides the first two items on the list.

Related: Local legislative candidates make their cases Candidates did their best to separate themselves from the pack in what's been an abbreviated and chaotic election season.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”

Each election cycle provides an opportunity for each of us to take part in this representative government, make our voices heard on the great issues that face the nation, and be informed on the candidates who seek our support to serve in offices from township supervisors to the White House.

Related: Houge, Starry face off in District 5 debate The event, hosted by the Cuyuna Lakes Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters of the Brainerd Lakes Area, featured the incumbent Houge and challenger Starry, both of whom will appear on the general election ballot after advancing through the primary election in August.
This election will be unlike any other in our collective memory, much of it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gone are the candidates marching in parades. There is a lot less door-knocking. We have write-in candidates mounting serious campaigns but in other races, like for all seats up for election in Hillman in Morrison County, we have no declared candidates.


On the other hand, there has not been a time when people have more options to make an informed choice by hearing the candidates talk about the issues in forums, by reading voter’s guides and candidate profiles, by reaching out to the candidates themselves.

Related: Nisswa: Five candidates participate in cordial candidate forum

Each year, our staff works diligently to complete the voter’s guide, which was published Sept. 30 and is available online and in our e-edition.

The Dispatch is co-sponsoring several forums with the League of Women Voters, the Brainerd Lakes, Pequot, Nisswa and Cuyuna Lakes area chambers. Some have already taken place, but voters can watch the candidate forums online, on the Dispatch website at or on the Dispatch Facebook page. And as the election nears, the Dispatch will be reporting on more area candidates in local races from judicial candidates to state, city and school board races.

Related: Crosslake: Five candidates discuss issues

Read what is available. Use the voter’s guides in the Dispatch and the Echo Journal. Take advantage of this strange year, where there are frankly fewer distractions, to learn more about the issues and the candidates who are stepping up and willing to serve.

Be informed and vote.

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