Candidate filing ended yesterday with 338 men and women tossing their hats in the ring to run for office.

We’ve been over at the Capitol for the past week, and what a week it’s been! Between conducting interviews with candidates, asking them to fill out a survey for our upcoming voters guide, and keeping up with all the other projects we’re working on, it’s been a busy time for me and my staff.

I do want to take a moment, however, to mention once again how critical the elections in May and November will be.

In 2008, dozens of candidates made it to the legislature without facing an opponent. All they had to do to get elected was file for office. That was it.

Now, becoming a lawmaker without facing an opponent doesn’t make you a bad person, and it doesn’t mean you’re unqualified for the job, but there’s a reason the Founding Fathers established a government elected by the people from among the people: Elections—ideally, at least—give voters the opportunity to select the best governing official.

It gives them a choice, and hopefully weeds out any candidates who are not as qualified to be in office as others. Well, this year, we voters are going to have a lot of opportunities to make that choice.

Unlike 2008, 2010 looks to be a banner year for elections. With 338 candidates filed, we’re going to see some hotly contested races. Candidates will be doing everything they can to convince us that they are the better choice than their opponent. As voters, we have a responsibility to elect the very best officials we can—not just the ones who have the best smile or we like because they’re from our home town.

Our goal at Family Council is to provide the state’s best source for information regarding where candidates stand on the issues that matter to you and other voters across Arkansas.

From gun laws and immigration to abortion and same-sex marriage, we’re polling candidates to see what kinds of policies they believe in and what kinds of laws they plan to pass.

Last week we shot a video about candidate filing and the upcoming voter’s guide. Here it is again:

Look for more information about the voter’s guide as we get closer to its debut on April 15.