A curious new trend in Paris has candidates for the town’s board of selectmen pairing up more like they were going to a high school prom than off to do the people’s business.

Incumbent Ray Glover has partnered with former Oxford County Sheriff Lloyd “Skip” Herrick, while challengers Troy Ripley and Al Atkinson have formed a duo of like-minded politicos.

Meanwhile, running all by his lonesome is George “Buddy” Coffren.

“It’s sort of ridiculous in the town of Paris,” Coffren said of the pairings. We couldn’t agree more.

This isn’t a case where one candidate would be the vice selectman to the other.

And while in most cases two heads are better than one, when it comes to electing officials to town offices, we think candidates should stand on their own records and their own merits.

To say a vote for one is a vote for “me too” rubs strongly against Maine’s iconic image of independent-thinking voters, candidates and elected officials.

While all five candidates have seemingly good qualities and appear sincere in their desire to move the town forward in positive ways, we think voters should consider the individual and not the tandem.

Clearly both teams are looking to build an automatic voting bloc, if elected, which would allow them a guaranteed two votes instead of one. Glover even said so. Tired of being in the minority, if re-elected he wants two votes so he will be able to break a pattern of 3-2 board votes that have left him on the losing side.

“I didn’t want to see the voting split continue,” he said. What he meant was he didn’t want to see “that” voting split continue.

While we won’t endorse any of the candidates individually, we will suggest splitting these teams for the sake of balance and to protect against the creation of automatic voting blocs.

Voters in Paris should know that while the candidates may be paired on the campaign trail, they are not paired at the ballot box and a vote for one from each team or a vote for one from either team and Coffren is possible.

We think that option gives Paris residents the balanced and independent-minded representation they deserve.

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