City election just around the corner

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2013

With April more than three-fourths gone, we’re bearing down on the Brookhaven municipal election, which kicks off May 7.

Since the first Tuesday in May will be a party primary, citizens entering the polls will have to decide whether they want to cast a Republican ballot or a Democratic ballot. The ballot selected will list only the candidates for that party, so there won’t be an opportunity to pick and choose a Democrat for one office and a Republican for another.

If a Democratic or Republican candidate in a particular race fails to receive a majority of the votes May 7, a second primary will be held May 21 to decide the race.

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Independent candidates won’t be on the ballot until the June 4 general election, when they will face off against the winners of the Democratic and Republican primaries. The June 4 ballot also will offer an opportunity for city residents to vote on the controversial liquor referendum, which has sparked a lot of talk around the city and county.

Election years are busy times for candidates and also for those of us in the newspaper business. Our advertising department sees an increase in local ads and more walk-in traffic, while our news department is working to provide extra coverage to make sure the citizens can cast informed votes.

Included in our election news package will be a series of articles featuring candidate responses to questions focusing on some of the key issues in this year’s races.

The first Q&A article, which includes responses from Ward One alderman candidates to Daily Leader questions, appears on the front page of today’s edition.

To ensure fairness, the candidates were given a word-count limit, and those who exceeded the limit were contacted to ask them to cut the overage.

Questionnaires were mailed the first week in April to each candidate for every office in this year’s city election, and a deadline was given for the responses to be returned. Nearly every candidate participated.

Upcoming Q&A articles will run daily on the front page. Since the Ward Two incumbent alderman, Terry Bates, is unopposed, Thursday’s paper will feature responses from Ward Three candidates.

Friday’s front page will have answers from Ward Four hopefuls, followed by those from Ward Five candidates Sunday.

The Tuesday, April 30, front page will present responses from the Ward Six candidates, with alderman-at-large candidate answers featured Wednesday, May 1, followed by city clerk candidates’ responses Thursday, May 2, and answers from chief of police hopefuls Friday, May 3.

Rounding out the series will be questions and answers from mayoral candidates Sunday, May 5.

Besides the series of articles on the front page, our newsroom also is preparing a special political section, which is slated to be included in the Sunday, April 28, paper.

The section will contain profiles compiled from candidate responses to forms provided by The Daily Leader. The profiles will include biographical information provided by those running for office, and also answers to a couple of questions designed to let voters know why those seeking city offices think the electorate should chose them.

We also plan to include a sample ballot and precinct list.

While this year’s Daily Leader election coverage has involved the entire newsroom, I’d like to express special appreciation to city beat reporter Caleb Bedillion, who has been instrumental in local election coverage throughout the campaign.

I’d also like to say a heartfelt thank you to every candidate who chose to participate in our election coverage. Each one of you is to be commended for using this means to educate the voters about yourself and your stance on the issues.

Everyone running also deserves our appreciation for stepping up and offering themselves for public service by seeking a leadership position in our city’s government.

And to the citizens, I’ll remind you, when election day rolls around, don’t forget to go vote!

Rachel Eide is editor/general manager of The Daily Leader. Contact her at