Our view: Informed voting is the essence of democracy

KS Editors

There are multiple sides to every story. As journalists, we know that when we cover a story or an issue in our community, especially one that affects our audience, that we must report in an unbiased way. This idea takes more prominence in our newsroom during election season, as the candidates and issues on the ballot represent potential changes to that community.

While reporting on Issue 21, the proposed amendment to the charter of the City of Kent, we made sure to discuss the details of the issue and how it would affect Kent State students, as well as the Kent community. Whether the issue was perceived as an anti-fracking law, a bill of rights, an illegal document, or a mix of all of them, in the end, the voters voted “no.”

Should the voters of Kent be seen as pro oil and gas industry? Are the voters against protecting the environment? Is Tree City Kent not as green as it seems? Should voters be seen as informed and educated on the issues on the ballot? Was the close vote of 43 percent to 57 percent in favor of “no” a sign of a divided city?

As journalists looking at the results of Kent’s election and the elections statewide, we know that Kent was not the only city to vote “no” on proposed charter amendments related to bills of rights and regulating fracking. Youngstown faced a bill of rights that failed for the fourth time on election day. Athens voted “yes.” We feel that, despite the vote of “no,” topics like regulating fracking on a local level are topics that should be discussed. Being involved in local government decisions that affect the place in which you live, or as students go to school, is important. Educating yourself on ballot issues and making an informed vote is the core essence of democracy, and we believe that the voters of Kent — regardless of the perceived nature of the issue — made an informed decision.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the The Kent Stater editorial board, whose names are listed above.