Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Voting blind

I must have gotten spoiled in Oregon, because in every voting cycle, the state mails out a comprehensive voting guide, sometimes in multiple volumes. And even though there is a lot of subjectivity and campaigning within those pages, there are still a great deal of objective facts, particularly about ballot measures. It always allowed me to go into the voting booth (and later, to sit in front of the TV to mark the mail-in ballot) knowing exactly who I want to vote for, and which ballot measures to vote for or against. In a word, I was informed.

Here in Missouri, I truly feel like I am going into next week's election blindly. I mean, sure, I have heard about the presidential candidates, but everyone else is a mystery. I've heard names and not much else. I've really tried to avoid watching political ads, because they're all biased toward one candidate - the one who paid for the ad. I don't watch cable news, and I don't listen to talk radio. Yes, the Missouri Secretary of State's office has a website that lays it all out - the candidates, the ballot measures, everything that will be on the ballot, but I only just found it this morning - and they have totally discounted those, especially a large number of the elderly, who have no Internet access. If these sources are what the State of Missouri is relying upon to make sure that voters are informed, then they simply suck at it.

Realistically, I should have had a paper guide in my hands two weeks ago. It would have given me time to thoughtfully consider the measures and candidates without having to scramble at the last minute. Now, because of school schedules, Nicole and I will have to go in at 7:00 on Tuesday to vote, and we'll have to hurry because she has to drop me off at work and get to her class on time. I understand that that is not the state's fault. However, that's the situation that countless families who also have busy evening schedules are faced with. We'll be under pressure to vote quickly, and that pressure will only be mitigated if we can go in there knowing in advance exactly which circles to fill in on our ballots.

1 Talked Back:

At October 28, 2008 at 4:59:00 PM CDT, Blogger Emily said...

i know what you mean. Luckily here in good ol' Indiana, early voting has been available since October 6, so I had time to research the candidates, and then was able to vote during work one day. We are a polling place, so all I had to do was walk to the gym. But, I understand your frustration very well because it's hard to make informed decisions when everyone is selling you their version of the facts!

Good luck!


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