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Editorial: Do your own research

Candidates often put a lot of effort into collecting endorsements that they hope will sway voters at the polls, but endorsements are most effective when they simply get potential voters to look deeper into a candidate's stances on all the issues that may be important in an election.

County Commissioner Dave Roush got in a bit of hot water when he put out a mailer using some people who had endorsed him in his previous campaign. Two of the four on his list say they weren't endorsing him now. Roush says it was an honest mistake.

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In this case the endorsements were from individuals. Whether you think you should vote based on what someone else says is good for you is an individual choice. Some folks like banana and peanut butter sandwiches, but most people aren't going to try one just because someone else told them to. And for those who do, the danger comes when you try the sandwich and don't like it. In life, you never have to eat another banana and peanut butter sandwich; but if you vote based on what someone else tells you, you are stuck with your choice until the next election.

Another big problem with endorsements, in most cases, is that they come from special interest groups that only look at one element. A gun rights group, for instance, could endorse candidates based on their stand on Second Amendment issues. In theory, a candidate who supports raising taxes to 50 percent of your income could get an endorsement from the gun rights group, but would you want to elect someone who says everyone should be taxed at 50 percent of their income?

In reality, that endorsement from the gun rights group should spur voters to look deeper into the candidate and examine his or her stand on a range of issues. Most people are not singular in their focus. They care about issues ranging from public services to education to business, and they want to elect people who will be reasonable across that wide spectrum.

Endorsements can provide insights into individual candidates. If a candidate talks about supporting the environment, but doesn't get an endorsement from environmental groups, it might raise some questions among potential voters. But endorsements on their own rarely, if ever, tell the whole story about an individual candidate. For that, there are no shortcuts. Voters have to do their own research.

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