Elections do not normally occur during the second week of March in North Carolina. But Tuesdayâ€™s Lincolnton City Council contest is a â€œSpecial Election,â€ ordered by the State Board of Elections as the best fix for a difficult situation that emerged after a decade-old data-entry error resulted in an ineligible candidate winning the original election in November.
The danger about a â€œspecial electionâ€ is that folks may not remember itâ€™s the day to vote. Turnout at city elections has typically been fairly light for many years, though that may have been because contested races were few. An exception came in November when turnout was noticeably much higher.
We hope the citizens of Lincolnton will turn out in large numbers Tuesday, having made themselves well-informed by reading advance coverage of the election in the Times-News, having talked about the issues with their friends and relatives and having given careful thought to their vote.
We hope those who simply plan to vote for a political party or flip a coin will do us all a service and stay away. The future of our city is too important for such nonsense and we have two strong candidates who deserve to be evaluated on their individual merits.
Readers looking for an endorsement shouldnâ€™t expect to see one here. What we endorse is being informed and taking part in the Democratic process. Each of us, including the staff of the Times-News, will have to make individual decisions when we enter the ballot box. There are times when we do offer direct advice on a candidate. In this case, we simply ask you to consider the issues and decide carefully.
Fred Houser, the incumbent, has a long history of public service to this county and the city of Lincolnton. He is a gentleman and an example of dignity in office.
Devin Rhyne, a political newcomer, is a former educator who currently works as a manager in construction. He is a young father and husband who is heavily involved in his church and the community.
Fred is a Democrat and Devin is a Republican.
These are both good guys â€” the sort of people you want in leadership. So we have two good options.
But that is not to say there is not a clearly defined set of choices before voters. Voters must simply decide which vision for Lincolnton they prefer.
In addressing issues questions presented by the Times-News last week, Houser made his positions clear. He believes things are going well and works closely with the rest of the current council to build consensus.
Rhyneâ€™s views were equally clear. He speaks out against what he calls â€œbusiness as usualâ€ and calls for new approaches and fresh thinking.
These are two credible viewpoints and they are each shared by many people in Lincolnton. Voters will have to decide which view better fits their own.
For those who missed the candidate questions, they appeared in our March 3 edition.
So we urge this course of action voters: Read, think, vote.
This is how democracy is supposed to work. Donâ€™t sit on the sidelines.
by Frank Taylor