In the next week, if you hear a knock at your door around dinnertime, don’t be alarmed; it’s probably a candidate for office.
So it begins.
The Declaration of Candidacy period began on Monday and ended yesterday at 4 p.m., meaning Johnston streets will soon be flooded with candidates looking for votes. Lawns will be littered with campaign signs; empty storefronts will temporarily be filled with red, white and blue signage; and your mailbox and voicemail will be inundated with lit-drops and robocalls. Brace yourself: it’s silly season.
From July 3 to 13, candidates must gather the signatures of registered voters for their nomination papers. If you’ve never been asked before, the general idea is that you’re showing your support for that candidate. It isn’t a vote, though, so there is no real commitment to that candidate. It’s just the next phase of the campaigning process for candidates, and a chance for them to get their name out there. Those signatures must come from registered voters from the ward or district a candidate is running in, and will be verified through the local Board of Canvassers.
For voters, there are a few important dates to keep in mind. You must be registered by Aug. 12 in order to vote in the Sept. 11 primary, and must be registered by Oct. 7 if you want to vote in the General Election on Nov. 6. The date for disaffiliation for the primary has already passed, unfortunately, so if you’re registered as a Democrat and want to vote in the Republican primary, you’re out of luck. If you are unaffiliated, though, you can vote in either primary. Just remember, that if you do vote in a primary, you automatically become affiliated with that party and must disaffiliate to remain unaffiliated. You can do that right at the polls by requesting a disaffiliation form.
If you can’t physically make it to the polls, or will be out of the state on Election Day, call the Johnston Board of Canvassers at 351-6618 and request a mail ballot application so your ballot will be sent directly to where you are. Mail ballots must be notarized or witnessed. If transportation is an issue, many candidates, party committees and civic organizations can arrange rides to the polls, so make plans in advance.
Voting is crucial to democracy; so don’t miss your chance to have your voice heard. Be a part of the process. If you’re not happy with your representation, vote them out. If you think the town is on the right track, check the box next to the incumbent’s name. In the coming weeks, we will profile the candidates for elected office, district by district, locally and at the State House, letting you know what they stand for and their goals for the town and the state.
The secret of who’s running is out, and now it’s time to figure out who has the best interests of Johnston voters at heart.