It’s definitely frustrating and something I’ve been trying to fix. I’ve been annoying people with ESLHustings and volunteering for Democracy Club for years, and so far this local election actually seems slightly better than usual.
I suspect there are many reasons for stealth candidates, and in fairness a big part of the reason is that to run as a serious candidate is hard work. Even without a pandemic, campaigning has to fit around jobs and all sorts of other commitments- it’s not easy, so hats off to all the @Cllr s who have stood.
If you’re a party with limited resources, it makes sense to focus on places you have the best chance of winning. Realistically, I am only going to hear from candidates in one party this election. Paper candidates are annoying but I would still rather have those options on the ballot paper than not. I’d be even happier to have even more options and truely independent candidates but such is life. (My new pet hate is parties with “Independent” in the name- there was a long list to scroll through adding candidates!)
Also, just because you aren’t hearing from candidates doesn’t mean other people aren’t- parties (should) know who is likely to vote for them and how best to reach them. Again that’s completely understandable but I think can be quite dangerous. How can voters have a proper open debate about issues if they don’t see targeted election material? That’s been a huge problem with online campaigning in my opinion.
I seriously doubt any party or candidate is complacent. The incumbents possibly have more to lose if they get sucked into partisan debates, whereas newcomers probably need as much publicity as possible, which may explain some of the differences.
Anyway that was a slightly rambling neutral guess at why some candidates are harder to find but it is ultimately up to us voters to find out more, and I think this forum has helped. Talking of which…
I haven’t heard anything from him or been able to track down anything concrete to add to Who Can I Vote for, so please give him a nudge to add his details!
Now for the less neutral bit…
Labour are tumbleweed where I live even when it is election time!
I understand that the Lib Dems are not popular in this forum and, collectively, they annoy me as well. There are good candidates, and less good candidates, in all parties.
I would much rather see a more balanced council, and I will keep on dreaming about fewer party candidates! Having said that the Lib Dems often seem like a useful scapegoat for problems which they do not create.
Please vote carefully, and please please do not vote for a Conservative candidate! The Lib Dems and Labour are both misleading in Eastleigh but the lies and corruption at the top of the Conservative party are damaging our democracy and need to stop before it’s too late. The only message which might get through is a bad election result.
And finally, whatever you do, vote!