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TIME needs stricter criteria

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TIME Magazine has opened its polls so voters can weigh in on this year’s Person of the Year, except some names should not be on the list.

Past honorees have included significant figures such as Queen Elizabeth II, Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama. This year’s nominees include honorable names such as activist Malala Yousafzai, Pope Francis and Syrian refugees. However, not every contender is a worthy choice.

Entertainers have been nominated just because they are famous, but fame should not automatically make a person influential. Other less honorable nominees range from reality television star and presidential candidate Donald Trump, reality television star Kim Kardashian West and musicians Taylor Swift, Adele and Drake.

Mixing nominations between activists, pop icons and controversial figures discredits more significant contenders’ important work in 2015. It is hard to compare Adele’s hard-hitting comeback to Pope Francis’ good deeds. Comparing Drake’s platinum records to Univision anchor Jorge Ramos’ advocacy for immigration is simply insulting. Even Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, is among those nominated.

Unfortunately, the criteria for choosing Person of the Year is whoever affected the news “for better or worse” the most throughout the year. The criteria for such an honor should be stricter. The title should be bestowed on someone who has been positively influential and made a strong impact in 2015. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is currently taking the lead in the polls and other global figures dominate five of the top 10 spots in the voting.

Although TIME does not choose a person based solely on the votes, it does consider the public’s opinions. Important figures who have had a strong, lasting positive impact on the world should be recognized and remembered as Person of the Year, not some pop star.

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