More is better

More indisputably equals better when it comes to local elections. The more voters, the better. And, more to the point at the moment, the more candidates the better.

As of this morning, Austin had four candidates for mayor, which at this point in the process is none too many. The American democratic system, as enacted at the local level, is designed to give residents a choice about who will represent them in office. More candidates mean a wider range of views are represented. That, in turn, tends to increase voter interest and turnout. While no one can argue that the democratic process is designed to make a “right” decision — or even that there is a single correct decision to be made, the more votes that are cast the likelier it is that the winner of any elected office will be a solid choice.

A multitude of candidates means there will be a primary election and, while some decry the expense of holding an “extra” election, we are convinced that that the expense is not a cost so much as it is an investment in democracy. After all, it would be even less expensive to have no elections at all — an idea that makes as little sense as resenting the cost of a primary.

To further illustrate the value of multiple candidates, contrast the Austin mayoral race with the non-races that are, to date, shaping up for county commissioner, state representative, state senator and school board. In those cases, voters will have no choice at all unless candidates step forward. And that is not democracy in action.

We’re glad four candidates have stepped forward for the office of mayor and we hope we can soon report that more have stepped forward for other offices that must be filled this fall.

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