I headed out to the polls today to vote in the primary. Since I’m registered independent, it was a short ballot, but nonetheless an important one.
One of the things that bothers me in the discussion of politics is the extremely limited discussion of local campaigns and issues. The information available is always limited, and very few people seem to want to discuss it. My wife and I scour the web and then we each report our results to the other. But we both find the lack of information annoying.
When the issues are only local, the turnout is also generally fairly low. Yet a great deal of the things that impact our lives are decided by these local bodies chosen by a tiny minority of the voters, many of whom are poorly informed.
It was interesting to note that the local elections here got pretty dirty as well. We had a candidate for county commission in our district who had a DUI on his record from when he’d been quite young, and someone mailed out flyers to make sure we were all aware of it. Our race for Public Defender got pretty tense as well, with accusations and counter-accusations. Why on earth is a public defender elected in any case?
As I approached the polling place, there was a forest of signs.
Is there some purpose to all these signs? Are people supposedly still making up there minds at this point? I suppose they are. And if they make up their minds based on these signs or the waving people at the polling place, could that be regarded as an informed vote?
Some people speak and act as though the only important issue is the election of the president. But our constitutional system doesn’t give the president absolute power. What about congress?
All our votes are important. The performace of our current government is the result of a Democratic president a Republican House of Representatives and a Democratic (but not filibuster proof) Senate. When you go to the polls you need to consider the performance of all those elements.
I hope the people of this country will give serious consideration to their votes for people at all levels of government.