Researcher Sherril Guthrie holds the comprehensive form she created to evaluate city council candidates.

Who should you vote for? Researcher creates an easy guide

Form helps voters evaluate their civic candidates.

When the public casts their ballots on Nov. 19, the choices made will shape the future of municipalities for the next three years.

But how do voters know if they’re supporting the right candidates?

It’s a dilemma researcher Sherril Guthrie is attempting to solve.

Guthrie has created an evaluation guide for voters in her city – Abbotsford – which she hopes will allow people to make more informed choices.

“It’s a poorly kept secret that many voters base their decisions on criteria as flimsy as name recognition, likability, even appearance. Some voters routinely consider a candidate’s membership in a social group, church or organization as important,” she said.

In order to create effective criteria for the role of mayor and councillor, Guthrie enlisted the help of 20 of Abbotsford’s community leaders. Participants were selected based on experience and knowledge of business, agriculture, education, social services, the environment, culture, the arts and politics.

“Too many people believe their vote won’t make a difference. If the guide helps to change that attitude, then it’s definitely worthwhile,” said one research participant.

Each were given draft materials consisting of a list of 16 issues to rate, a list of qualifications and a sample guide. From their input, a one-page guide was created, allowing voters to rate candidates on each of the 10 job qualifications. The rating system goes from one to five (one meaning not qualified and five meaning qualified) for a total possible score of 50 points.

The higher the score, the better the politician’s potential.

The 10 categories are broken into three different groups – knowledge, skills, and personal strengths.

In the knowledge portion, voters can rate candidates on how well they know the issues, the city (including history, diversity, trends, population growth, etc.) and legislation (community charter, municipal act, agricultural land reserve, etc.).

“You can’t do the job unless you have that solid foundation of knowledge of the issues the community faces,” said Guthrie.

She said many people don’t realize how much legislation is related to the job of mayor and council, and candidates have to know the proper process.

The second section of the evaluation form features five topics focusing on skills, including communication, comprehension of finances, problem solving, diplomacy and organization.

The final two evaluation points fall under the personal strengths category, including candidate qualities (honest, fair, trustworthy) and track record (related experience).

Guthrie is hopeful that the public will find her project useful. The majority of questions on the form can be applied to any municipality

It does require work on the part of each voter, but Guthrie feels it is worth it to avoid the potential consequences of having an unqualified individual in office.

Guthrie said she took on this project because she is a concerned taxpayer. She was not funded or supported by any political party or other organization.

To view the evaluation documents created by Guthrie, go to http://tinyurl.com/43ujr84

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey school district student enrolment down from projections

‘That’s not something I can say in my time in Surrey, I have ever said at the board table’: superintendent

White Rock acupuncturist suspended for ‘scare tactics, excessive fees’

30-day suspension for Jun Hua (Davy) Hua issued Aug. 18

Mother-daughter charged in 2017 torched-SUV killing in South Surrey now allowed contact

Judge grants Manjit Kaur Deo permission to connect with Inderdeep Kaur Deo through a lawyer

Latimer Road the latest Surrey school to report COVID-19 exposure

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

PHOTOS: One injured in shooting on South Surrey-Langley border

Shots reported near 194 Street and 34 Avenue, burned-out vehicle found in 18100-block of 12 Avenue

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read