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News : Local Last Updated: Apr 18, 2017 - 11:30:34 AM

The Power of Informed Choice - Candidate Questionnaire and evaluation
By Chauntez Wilson, The Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG)
Apr 18, 2017 - 10:58:54 AM

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ORG encourages policy-based candidate comparison through candidate questionnaires

Nassau, Bahamas - Touting the importance of the non-partisan, policy based evaluation during election season, local civic foundation The Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) has launched an initiative to bring voters the policy views of their candidates in a format that will make it an easy to compare candidates side-by-side.

The candidate comparison platform, which will be available on the group’s website www.orgbahamas.com as of April 20th, combines the candidate’s statements and views on issues of national importance, with their track record, where applicable, and comments from non-partisan experts. Voters will be able to see the views of candidates running in their constituency side by side and compare their policies on important issues such as transparency and anti-corruption, education, and economic development.

Matt Aubry, Executive Director of ORG says the initiative is meant to cultivate a culture of informed, policy-based voting.

“The cornerstone of a free, fair, and functioning democracy rests on a well-informed electorate. It is key that voters make educated choices bolstered by a clear understanding of their candidates’ views on core issues. Partisan loyalties traditionally have a strong place in Bahamian electoral culture, however we are seeing a greater distrust of leadership and public institutions from the people. The many recent Anti-establishment movements and acts of civil disobedience signify a crisis of representation and a public call for inclusion. This project is an effort to put more power in the hands of the people to determine and vote for candidates that better represent their interests.”

The group has distributed a questionnaire to every candidate on the ticket asking questions about their views and plans for issues of national importance such as fiscal responsibility, public disclosure, education reform, and freedom of information amongst others. The candidates have been given until April 19th to respond before their answers are tabulated and posted to the public. Candidates who do not reply will be marked as non-responsive on the platform.

The group is encouraged by the responses received to date but are urging more candidates to respond.

“We thank the candidates that have responded thus far, it shows a keen respect for the electorate and initiative,” said Aubry. “We especially urge representatives from the incumbent party, smaller parties and independents to respond; we have seen responses from the FNM and DNA but still have not received responses from other groups.”

ORG encouraged the candidates to use the questionnaire as an opportunity to get their message in front of voters. “This is a chance for candidates to communicate their position clearly to voters. ORG’s goal is to create a platform where candidates’ views and policies can be easily and accurately accessed and compared to help voters make informed decisions. As a not-for-profit foundation, ORG is prohibited from supporting any candidate or party for public office and all answers will be handled in an objective manner. We hope that the candidates will see this as the opportunity that it is and take advantage.”

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