• 41°

Voters should use caution

It is safe to say that computers have revolutionized nearly every part of our society — so it is only natural that politics and campaigning feel those same effects.

The Internet and e-mail have added a new dimension to the tactics that can be used by political candidates.

While some may believe that this high-tech campaigning is left for the national races and the big-spending politicians, that simply isn’t true.

Electronic politics has infiltrated small-town America and become a part of nearly all elected officials’ repertoires.

And that’s OK — as long as voters use their heads, are cautious with the sources and do their homework.

The beauty of the Internet and e-mail is that candidates can reach out to voters with a variety of messages that help get their platform out there.

From YouTube commercials to chain e-mails to just elaborate Web sites introducing themselves, candidates are now using a variety of methods to get information to voters.

But the down side is there is often a lot of information generated that is not easily verifiable, misleading or just downright false.

On the presidential level, we have already seen a fair amount of that with false attacks on Sarah Palin, Barack Obama and John McCain.

Many Web sites purport themselves to be fair news sources when they are anything but. Voters need to do their homework to ensure that they have information that is factual.

Another electronic tool that has altered politics are Web logs — commonly known as Blogs — user-posted comments and message boards.

All have a place and a value in today’s political arena, but readers must understand that this information isn’t held to the same standards as mainstream media.

Nothing is wrong with utilizing the Internet as a tool in reaching a voting decision. But like any tool, the key is using it properly.