Wednesday, February 06, 2008

If you can't vote your conscience, choose the one with the silliest name

Nicole and I went to vote in the Missouri primary last night, and I have to say, I felt somewhat unsatisfied after all was said and done. Let me give you the breakdown:

1. The law states that there is not to be any campaigning within 25 feet of the polling place. If I remember right, the word was “electioneering”. So, can there still be a guy with a sign at the driveway of the building? I remember when there couldn’t be any campaigning at all, no TV ads, no billboards, no yard signs, nothing on Election Day.

It’s funny, a copy of the entire electioneering law was taped to the outside of the door for your reading pleasure, right above a notice about a lost cat. It would have been hilarious if the sign had read: LOST CAT, ADULT CALICO, ANSWERS TO “VOTE FOR HUCKABEE”

2. When you go inside and sign the book, they actually ask you if you want a Democrat ballot or a Republican ballot. Huhwhatwhat? This means that, no matter what party under which you are actually registered, you are able to cast spoiler votes against the other party if you want to. Let’s say you’re a Dem who thinks your candidate has a better chance against Romney than McCain. Just conspire with your family, friends and neighbors to vote for him. (Of course, this could be prohibited in the fine print of the electioneering rules that I didn’t read because it was raining.)

3. When I received my ballot, I literally had never heard of half of the presidential candidates on there. You know what? A voter’s pamphlet would have been handy. Did Missouri send one out? Not to me, they didn’t. And because I am not much of a news channel watcher, and also, like Nicole, I generally don’t devote too much time worrying about politics or politicians, I didn’t really know enough about the candidates to make an informed decision. I still voted, but I kind of felt like I was cheating myself. Would have been nice to read up a bit.

4. Where were all of the other issues? Ballot measures, initiatives, school levies, library budgets, that sort of thing? And where were the local candidates? Was there nobody in the state or county whose job was up for grabs? I may have been spoiled in Oregon because of our measure-heavy ballots and literally multi-volume voter’s guides. I’ve dulled pencils on those ballots because of all the filling in of rectangles.

So there you have it. Primary Election 2008 is in the books, and I got an “I voted” sticker to wear proudly while at the mall.

I stuck mine to the leg of my corduroys.

1 Talked Back:

At February 6, 2008 at 12:50:00 PM CST, Blogger Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

For a time, we had an anti-electioneering law on the books here in Oregon too.

I recall being asked to remove an issue oriented button because of it. This was, of course, back when we Oregonians had to actually go to a poll (you might remember those days yourself).

If I may be blunt, I think anyone around here who moans about our occastionally-voluminous Voter's Pamphlets needs to read your post here. It's not so much that it doesn't suX0r to have huge Voter's Pamphlets, but as irritating as that might be, not having the information at all is far worse.


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