On Tuesday, the Grand Rapids Press included their Voters’ Guide in the daily edition of the paper. The 16-page voters’ guide includes information on local, state and national candidates as well as both statewide ballot proposals. However, if you are looking for information beyond the names and short bios of the candidates, you would be hard pressed to find it.
For all the federal races–President, Senate and US House–the Press only included bios for the candidates. They also included information of all the candidates on the ballot even though they rarely mentioned candidates other than from the Republican or Democratic Parties. For analysis of the federal election candidates and media coverage, visit our Election Watch 2008 archives.
For all of the state and local races the Press does include a list of questions that they posed to the candidates–10 questions for State House candidates, 5 questions for the Kent County Commission candidates, and 2 questions for the Kent County Circuit Court candidates. However, the Press only included responses to one question from all the State House candidates, one from the Kent County Commission candidates and none from the Circuit Court candidates. To read all of the responses, you have to go online.
The lack of substantive information in the voters guide is unfortunate, especially since many people do not have easy access to the Internet and reading a print guide can be more convenient–especially to carry around. The other problem with not including more candidate responses to the questions asked by the Press is that of the 16 pages in the Voters’ Guide, 6 pages are devoted to paid ads by some of the candidates. By comparison, the actually information on candidate positions takes up only 2 of the 16 pages in the Voters’ Guide.