Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I have not done my patriotic duty

I have not yet voted today. But I will.

I was speaking today with co-workers who did their patriotic duty this morning already, and were talking about the "flip side" of the ballot. That's the side with all the judges who are running unopposed, the one with all the offices that most people know very little about and haven't heard of either of the people running for the seat.

Did you know that if no one actually voted "yes" for those judges and a single person wrote his name in and voted for himself that the write-in person would win the seat?  A non-vote is a no vote.

Yet which is worse: to vote for someone you know nothing about, or to choose not to vote?

Is it worse to stand in the voting booth, choosing the candidate whose last name starts with an "F" because you like the sound of it better than the other candidate? Or vote for the one with a feminine sounding first name because you typically vote for women? (Oops, you mean Tracy is a guy?)

As much as I would like to say I followed every race for every seat that I have the privilege of electing today, I haven't. There are candidates and seats on the ballot I will be using today that I have never heard of.

And as a Twin Citians I have heard an awful lot about a race that won't even be on my ballot, that of Tarryl Clark and Michelle Bachman. I'm not in their district; I can't choose one over the other (but I sure wish I could).

It is truly a privilege to be able to exercise the right to vote -- I remember this every time I read about elections taking place in a developing country, where people travel for miles and wait in lines for hours to vote. As Americans today, the challenge is not getting to the voting place on November 2nd, it is becoming an informed vote leading up to today. That seems awfully hard to do though, with political ads taking a sharp turn for the toilet. And are ads really the best way to learn about a candidate? My answer is no, yet I suspect that's how the majority of Americans learn about candidates.

I will be honest to say that I have not done my patriotic duty by becoming a fully informed voter on every seat and every race that I have the privilege to weigh in on. But that won't keep me away from the ballot box.

So what say you...is it worse to be an uninformed voter or to not vote?


  1. Anonymous1:31 PM

    In San Francisco, we had 5 ballots. It's insane. I just went in with a list of names of people I knew I wanted to vote for, and a list of all the Propositions. If someone runs unopposed, unless I have heard that they are a horrible person or something, I just vote for them or check "yes" or whatever. It probably doesn't matter, but who knows.

  2. Last night I was reading about different candidates. There were many races where I just didn't like either choice. As in I couldn't even figure out which one I liked the least. I feel like not voting for that particular seat is a better choice than just doing eenie meeny miney moe between 2 candidates.

  3. I couldn't agree more!

  4. Michael Schommer10:46 PM

    For me, the choices were easy. I listened to debates between the candidates (Thank you, Wisconsin Public Radio), and looked at their records. Candidates who obfuscated or stonewalled were, surprisingly (sic), those whom the anonymously-funded attack ads largely spared. They were also those who reached most often for ideological bludgeons, and pandered most to big money interests, and the simple-minded. Not a one of them got my vote. Of course, almost all of them won, which has me questioning the intelligence, integrity and foresight of Wisconsins electorate. I have had quite enough of anti-intellectualism in politics. And I'm wondering if anyone will sue to keep local political races and donors local. Anyone?