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How we fix elections

There was something shady about that last election. And we’re not talking about robo-calls and yard signs.

The problem was with the media — us and our nefarious ilk who conspired to unseat three incumbents by framing the election as a mandate on the White Street Landfill, over-scrutinizing the positions and affairs of the conservative bloc while granting indulgences to those we deemed fit for office, destroying the political reputations of those we scorned in the process.

Or maybe not. While those of us in Greensboro’s chattering class have been tied to all of the above scenarios — mostly by mouth-frothing bloggers and serial internet commenters — what we did at YES! Weekly this election cycle is what we always do: gather factual information and present it as thoroughly as we can, and because we spend more time learning about the candidates than average citizens, we make endorsements for those we deem best suited for the job.

Our endorsees did pretty well this cycle — the only losing candidates who got our seal of approval were Jay Ovittore in District 3 and DJ Hardy in District 1, but that is perhaps more a function of being in tune with the electorate and the issues rather than an imposition of our will on the people. In this case, we were more the mirror than the lantern.

For proof, look no further than District 1, where Dianne Bellamy-Small was able to trounce Hardy by almost 3,000 votes without the benefit of any media endorsements save for the Carolina Peacemaker’s. Jay Ovittore, who we endorsed, lost by more than 5,000 votes to the incumbent Zack Matheny in District 3. And in District 5, although Trudy Wade won reelection, Jorge Cornell was able to collect more than 1,000 votes without media endorsement. Our suggestion to write in Tony Wilkins for the seat was met with 22 votes.

That’s not to say that our coverage had no effect on the races.

Endorsements notwithstanding, our comprehensive voter guide reached thousands of voting-age readers, giving them the lowdown on every candidate’s positions and qualifications in a straightforward manner, just the facts.

Our political website, www.triadpolitics.info, with more detailed information on the candidates, garnered thousands of hits, with interesting results. Marikay Abuzuaiter got the most page views, 851, with Jorge Cornell trailing close behind at 831. For what it’s worth, District 2’s Jim Kee got the least amount of page views, though he won his re-election bid handily.

Our take is that the election results hinged on a mosaic effect, a combination of newspaper articles, editorials and endorsements; a wealth of online information about the candidates; strenuous get-out-the-vote campaigns; and voters’ own engagement with the issues and candidates.

But if you want to give us credit, that’s fine with us.

YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration

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