« my name is michele and.... | Main | thoughts on war: notes from a reader »

vote as if your future depends on it

vote as if your future depends on it..

because it does.

Two days until Election Day. Are you ready? Have you done your homework? Do you know not only who you are voting for but why you are voting for them?

Dean Esmay on voting:

If you plan on voting Democratic or Republican simply because that's how you always vote, because you figure the Democrats are "nicer" or the Republicans "more patriotic," please stay home on election day.

If you plan on voting against Democrats because you think they're evil Communists who want to destroy every last vestige of freedom in America, please stay home on election day.

If you plan on voting against Republicans because you feel they're racists who want to throw orphans and old people out in the snow while they grind up endangered species for hot dogs, please stay home on election day.

It is not your duty as an American to vote. It's not your job. It is a privilege. As with all privileges, it should not be taken lightly.

All elections are important, but this one even more so. We are on the brink of a great change in this world; the results of this election may dictate whether that change comes sooner or later; whether that change is good or bad.

Voting party line has long been a pet peeve of mine. Just because you are registered with a certain party, does not mean that all the candidates of that party are going to be in line with your ideals. Take the time to research the people running for office. Your local paper should be chock full of information on all the candidates.

Every race is important, not just the big ones. It is as imperative that you use your knowledge to vote for governor of your state as well as councilmen or the legislature or judges.

Research the judges who are running in your area. The judges who sit in your lower courts today are the ones who will be sitting in your higher courts tomorrow, making decisions that could affect you.

I work for the local court system. I am a secretary to three judges, two of whom are running for positions in higher courts on Tuesday.

I've had people call me and say who should I vote for? I don't know who you should vote for because I am not you. Are you pro-life? Anti-gun? Tough on drug offenders? Do you favor rehabilitation over jail sentences? These are all things to think about before you vote for a judicial candidate, even in the local district courts.

People ask about my judges, what they stand for, are they good judges, are they fair judges? Yet when I tell them that one of the judges I work for has, in his two year on the District Court bench, had more decisions published in the Law Journal and State Reporter than all the District Court judges combined, no one has any idea what I'm talking about. They ask if that's a good thing or not. They ask why it matters to them. It matters because every decision matters. You never know when a landlord/tenant ruling will matter to you. You never know when that kid with a rap sheet a mile long will circumvent the system yet again because of a judge's ruling.

What I am saying is every race matters. Not just the big races, the ones you hear about on television, the races with debates and fanfare. The less publicized races matter just as much. Maybe not now, but they will in the future. That person you elect to your legislature today just because he is a Republican/Democrat/Insert Party Here may be your County Executive tomorrow and you will be cursing yourself when he is slashing jobs and cutting senior citizen funding.

Take the time to know who and what you are voting for. And then go out and vote. Pull the levers or punch those ballots with a clear conscience that you made informed choices. Look at the list of candidates and be able to recognize all the names and what they stand for. And realize that the need to look beyond party lines is so very important, because there is an awful lot of backroom wheeling and dealing and compromising that may land some candidates on several different party lines, and he/she may or may not be true to the dictates of all of them.

Learn. Research. Study. Vote.

If you don't vote, don't bitch.

Extras:

For New York voters:
Find out what Senate or Assembly District you live in.
Congressional District profiles
Election Day checklist
Newsday Voter's Guide

Comments

"Party Line" voting annoys the hell out of me. In Britain we've got loads of corrupt local councils elected on the back of protest votes against unpopular governments.

Local council elections are not referendums on the popularity of the government of the day!

I'm walking into the booth Tuesday and pulling the BIG R. There are elections where qualified Libertarians are running and I split my ticket but this isn't one of those. Voting for the person rather than the party has consequences larger than any particular race. For instance, there is a fellew that lives just a couple of blocks away from me when he's not in Lansing representing me in the State House. Macomb county Michigan is the home of the "Reagan Democrats" and this fellow is at least as conservative as I am. Truth be told, the only reason he's a Democrat is because of the long Union tradition in this area. Even though voters tend to be conservative they will vote for any Democrat they can stomach. The point is that I am more likely to vote for a yellow dog than this fellow even though we agree on nine out of ten issues because one area where we firmly disagree is how to organize the state house. If his party wins, the agenda of the house will not be determined by my conservative representative but by the leftists who dominate the Democrat Party state wide. The consequence of my voting for my neighbor and fellow deer hunter could be a tree hugger chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.

As long as there are parties there will be party line votes. Parties espouse a political philosophy - and if one party's philosophy is much more to your liking than another, then a party line vote makes perfect sense. Even more so when you consider that both legislative branches are organized based on seniority, and that leadership holds so much power over the enactment of legislation.

I will continue to punch the Republican chad, mark the Republican optical sense mark, pull the Republican lever, or touch the Republican screen until such time that I disagree more with their platform than with another party's platform or until the seniority system goes the way of the dinosaur. I have been known to go to the trouble of marking each individual race when there is a particularly bad Republican candidate, but even then I can't bring myself to get close to a "D", I just leave it blank.

I hope this doesn't mean I'll be banned from viewing your pictures. :)

You mean I WON'T be getting my Spotted Owl Wieners the day after Republicans get the Senate back? Goddamn it. I'm staying home.

Sometimes you just have to vote out the incumbents...all of them...just to remind them who is (supposed to be) holding the leash.

Connecticut used to have a lever on their ballot machines where you could flip a single switch and the machine would register a vote for every single candidate on the ballot in that party. I never understood the rationale behind that. It just made it so much easier for people to make that mindless decision.

Voting is a dangerous weapon, and many people don't believe its power. Voting party line is like going out and telling the dealership that you need a car, and they assign you something -- you have no idea if it's a lemon and will break down sixteen times in the course of a month and cause you more trouble than you've ever wanted, or it could explode one day while you're on the freeway, or it could safely get you to your destination and you'll be happy with it. But you don't know, and you have no control over what you're getting.

For all the complaints I hear about current administrations -- whether national or state or local -- it's astonishing that voting turnout is hitting record lows. If you don't like the people in office, vote them out. If you want to make sure you won't have too much cause to complain about the people filling the next term, make sure to vote in someone whose views you agree with. I've heard many people complaining about our current president, but it still amazes me that despite the fact that they knew it was a tight race and despite the fact that they had the ability to go out and do something about it, they didn't and the 2000 presidential race had the poorest voter turnout ever.

For all you people who are advocating that we go to Iraq and oust Saddam Hussein and his dictatorship and institute a fair and democratic government: Before you go charging halfway around the world to impose your way of life and your system of government on complete strangers, did you bother to exercise your right to vote -- and vote responsibly, especially given that voting party line is like that sham of an election they just had where Saddam got 100% of the vote -- last November and the November before that? Because I think you'd look pretty dumb and hypocritical trying to make sure other people in another country vote and have the ability to vote responsibly when you're not even taking advantage of that ability in your own country yourself.

I grew up in a small coal mining town in Pennsylvania where the United Mine Workers of America ruled all. The whole are was so lopsidedly registered Democrat that only the primary elections - that is, whoever won the Democratic primary - mattered; the general elections were a waste of time and money, and any piece of hardware other than the big "straight Democrat" lever was a waste of space. Somehow, I grew up espousing values and a political philosophy more generally assigned to Republicans. I've been a Republican basically my entire life, even before I knew what a Republican was. And while I occasionally stray from the Republican Party candidate in a race, I've usually voted exclusively for the Republican under the theory of generally advancing my own beliefs, even if the particular candidate was a tool. In short, I eventually fell into the same stupid trap that so sickened me when I was younger.

My business recently ended a legal battle in which the judge assigned to the case repeatedly rendered decisions that were contrary to the law, legal precedent, and common sense - so much so that the judge's hand-selected magistrate (who handled the case during the times that the judge felt too important to be bothered with my petty problems)even said they were wrong, and assured an appeal if we went to trial and lost. The judge, it turns out is well-known in local circles to be a flaming horse's ass. Convicted of multiple DUI offenses, he has lost his driver's license. He is routinely selected as the second worst judge on the bench (the worst is a real piece of work). Imagine - a man who doesn't even have the brains to not drink and drive is sitting in court rendering decisions that will have lifelong impact on the people who rely on his wisdom and sense of justice. This same idiot presides over murder trials where the death penalty is being sought.

This ignorant piece of human filth allowed my court case to be dragged out for three years. He extended the process through a series of decisions that even his own staff admitted were flawed, inconsistent with state law, precedent, and common sense. During that time, because of the stresses associated with the trial, my business and my personal household were both all but legally bankrupted, my wife put on 30 pounds and ended up on antidepressants and blood pressure medication, and I ended up in a constant state of depression and taking superpowerful antacids just to get through the day. Thanks to this asshole's incompetent handling of his job, my business finally paid a big settlement just to get rid of what was truly a frivolous and even more expensive lawsuit - which of course, is exactly what the other side was really after all along.

Now that it is all over, and we're getting close to election day, I started to wonder: what was the political affiliation of this judge? Had I, by voting the straight party ticket, helped to put this bastard on the bench?

As it turns out, the moron is a Democrat. But the scary thing is, I didn't know. And in all honesty, I probably didn't know anything about the person who ran against him, which is just as bad.

Some people will vote by party affiliation. Some people are just as stupid, voting for someone just because their name sounds familiar to them. Only slightly better are those people who don't vote for anyone in a race if they don't know enough about the candidates (if you don't know enough, it's your own sorry fault), since even a non-vote is really a vote.

You have to become informed, and you have to vote intelligently, because you just never know when you'll find yourself in the middle of some issue where you are all too painfully involved, and the opinions of these people will be extremely important to you.

In the future, will I still vote primarily - even almost exclusively - Republican? Probably. Will I ever vote the straight ticket? Maybe, but not without conscious reasoning. I do know this: I will never, ever walk into a polling place without knowing exactly what judges I'm voting for, and why. And I know that when this particular piece of human garbage comes up for re-election, I will fight like hell with every resource available to me to put this son of a bitch into retirement.

Excellent post... particularly the part about who you vote for today, and where they may end up tomorrow.

On Tuesday I have a clear agenda... it's time to change the status quo!

And no "party line voting" for me this year... I'm registered as independant.

Uh, I thought voting was a right not a priviledge. I do share your distaste for "party line voting". I see punching the party ticket as an abdication of a citizens civic responsibility. I get to vote for an openly gay Republican for the state house this year (he's also a friend), an openly gay Republican Congressman incumbent and an eminently qualifiend Democrat for Governor who happens to be a woman.
Vote Vote Vote

Voting is a right and a privilege.

Voting intelligently is a duty of citizenship.

Those who vote without knowing who the candiates are and what they truly represent should be barred from the polls. They are only voting as proxies for someone else, and that is fraud.

Voting is a right and a privilege.

Voting intelligently is a duty of citizenship.

Those who vote without knowing who the candiates are and what they truly represent should be barred from the polls. They are only voting as proxies for someone else, and that is fraud.