We’ve used this space to urge area residents to vote, to register to vote and take part in elections. We think it’s the best way for residents to be involved in their community, but making sure they have a say in the election process.

We want to add to this by encouraging our readers to get to know the candidates in each race. Attend political forums, understand candidates’ positions on issues important to you and delve deep into why they are running for office.

Some studies have shown the reason many voters chose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the previous presidential election was because Trump wasn’t Clinton. It had nothing to do with positions on issues, but rather the fact people were tired of Clintons in the political spotlight.

While popularity — or lack thereof — can win or lose an election, at the local level it needs to be more than popularity. We encourage all voters to explore the candidates running for office. Get answers to questions you have about their positions, their goals while in office, why they ran for that particular office, and more.

Find the kind of candidate you can vote for. We’re not asking anyone to join a campaign or start a chant, we want our citizens to make sound decisions while voting.

If a candidate’s answers don’t synchronize with yours, he or she is not the one. If all the candidates’ answers aren’t aligned, take your time, ask more questions.

The importance is paramount. If people are going to vote in an election, they should do their homework on the choices. Unfortunately too many people make quick choices when it comes to their votes. The vote for their neighbor, or they hear the candidate was nice to puppies. It’s why incumbents have an advantage. People know the name.

But it’s more than that. People are quick to get angry when the candidate they voted for doesn’t perform in office the way the voter expected. Or, a campaign promise doesn’t get accomplished. The reason for the anger is often because the voter heard the message — but didn’t dive deep enough in to how the candidate would effect the change.

As voters, we have a right to ask followup questions to the candidates’ answers. Dig in. Find your candidate. This isn’t a talent competition or a popularity contest. Where does the candidate stand on taxes? On expansion? On infrastructure? On this program or that program?

Indifference isn’t the answer. Neither is popularity — which might work OK in larger political arenas, but not in local elections. Democracy works at the local level. So let’s make sure we ask the important questions of our candidates.

Also, once becoming an informed citizen make sure to vote. We all need to do our part.