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drmellow's Election Guide

Don't forget that in the US, today is Election Day. Make your voice be heard. Go vote. If you're an informed citizen and have already carefully chosen how you will vote, then I applaud you.

But what to do if you've made it all the way to Election Day and you haven't bothered to inform yourself about the issues and the candidates, or if you simply aren't sure how you should vote on a given issue or candidate? Then you're the person for whom I'm writing up this handy election guide.

First, don't worry if you're uninformed -- most Americans are completely uninformed, but that doesn't stop a lot some of them from voting! Why should you be any different? Such a small percentage of people come out to vote, anyway, so it keeps politicians on their toes when uninformed voters show up and vote in unpredictable ways. The important thing is to show up and vote.

If you can spare just a little bit of time to research the candidates, your vote will be much more effective. Now, when I say "research," I'm not talking about finding all the information about where a candidate stands on various issues. I'm not even talking about finding out what the party affiliation is for any candidate. All I'm talking about is determining which candidates are incumbents -- that is, which candidates are currently holding office. Once you determine that, be sure not to vote for any incumbents. I don't care how good you might think your current representative is, the fact is that all government stinks, at every level, and the easiest way to change that is get everyone who's currently in office out.

What if you don't want to do the research to determine who's the incumbent? That's OK, too -- you still have two different methods you can choose to systematically make an uninformed decision. The first method involves voting "party line" or "straight ticket" and is very popular. The idea is to decide which of the two major political parties you hate the most and to vote for candidates that belong to the other party. Personally, I don't see much difference between the Republicrats and the Democans, so I'm not really sure how to advise you on choosing which party to vote against. I'm told that one of the parties likes to raise taxes to make sure that everyone is poor and the other party likes to poison the environment. *shrug* I guess you could just flip a coin to determine which party to vote against if you wanted to. The second method you can use to systematically make an uninformed vote is to always vote against both major parties. There are lots of third-party candidates out there, and they're all equally as crazy, so you pretty much can't go wrong with them. The disadvantage of this technique is that not all races include third-party candidates, so you might have to resort to a different method of casting your vote.

Often, you have the opportunity for a complete wild-card vote -- the write-in option. This option allows you to cast your vote for someone who did not care enough about running for office to actually file any election-related material. Write-in candidates rarely win, but choosing to cast a write-in vote allows you to have a little fun -- you can write in your own name, or the name of one of your friends, for example. As a bonus, the election counters really get a kick out of keeping up with all of the various people who get written in, so if you decide to cast a write-in vote, you might just make some government worker's day a little brighter.

The other decision you might have to make is how to vote on bond issues. This one is easy -- always vote "NO" on any bond issue. The reason to always vote "NO" is because bond issues always result in raising your taxes. No one wants higher taxes, so no one should vote for a bond. Actually, there is an exception to this rule. The taxes that are affected by bond issues are property taxes, so if you don't own real estate (if you rent an apartment, e.g.), your taxes wouldn't be raised by bond issues passing, so it's OK to vote "YES" on a bond issue if you want -- since you're not paying property taxes, you don't care if they get raised. It's not like it affects your rent or anything.

OK, drmellow's Election Guide turned out to be a little more complicated than I thought it would when I started writing it. So if all of this is still too confusing or complicated, you can always just go vote randomly. Choose people who have funny sounding names. Make it so that the marks on your ballot are in pretty designs. Whatever works for you, just be sure to vote.

Or, you can stay home like most people are going to do today anyway.

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
christtrekker
Nov. 7th, 2006 04:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Now I feel empowered to go to my polling place with boldness and confidence, with a clear strategy that will point me unerringly to the proper decision.

Wait...I already voted today. DRAT!
prester_scott
Nov. 7th, 2006 05:00 pm (UTC)
This is way too complicated! GIVE ME EMPTY SLOGANS.
drmellow
Nov. 7th, 2006 05:04 pm (UTC)
OK, I'll give you 2 empty slogans:
- VOTE RANDOMLY!
- STAY HOME: VOTING IS TOO COMPLICATED!
naqerj
Nov. 7th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, don't vote—it only encourages them.

:)


Honestly, I think Dr. Mellow's Election Guide should better mirror Dr. Mellow's Guide to Women.[*]


[*] Amusingly enough, I was once interrogated when I worked for the NCSU Computing Center for happening to have a copy of the aforesaid Guide in my pub/ directory. My somewhat feminist boss thought that it was an indication that I took literally the things contained therein.
sonria
Nov. 7th, 2006 05:51 pm (UTC)
Dr. Mellow's Guide to Women

This now must be posted to LJ for those of us who weren't around when it first came out. Any guide written by someone who put out the brilliant voting guide above is sure to be worth the read!
eagle243
Nov. 7th, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)
Google the phrase - it's all over the place.
neebs
Nov. 7th, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC)
Did you really write that, Dr. Mellow?
drmellow
Nov. 8th, 2006 12:56 pm (UTC)
It's got my name on it, does't it? ;-)
neebs
Nov. 8th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC)
Wow, you're googleable as an author!!!!!!! That's so cool!!!
meep
Nov. 7th, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC)
I remember writing a bit on one supposed logical inconsistency in the guide.

I think it's hilarious that I remembered this, and that I remembered my response.
eagle243
Nov. 7th, 2006 06:28 pm (UTC)
I will never understand those people who really believe that bonds do not raise taxes. Let's see here ... a bond is a promissory note on the part of the government... how do these people think the government pays for ANYTHING. DUH - TAXES!
prester_scott
Nov. 7th, 2006 08:25 pm (UTC)
That's okay, they'll only tax the rich people.
eagle243
Nov. 8th, 2006 03:38 pm (UTC)
Well, yeah - they can afford it. :/
sonria
Nov. 7th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC)
All I'm talking about is determining which candidates are incumbents -- that is, which candidates are currently holding office.

Some ballots actually will indicate which candidates are the incumbents. So it may only be necessary to read the ballot in order to determine the best choice for each selection.

Granted, that's a lot of work, but still. That's a tip from me. :)
neebs
Nov. 7th, 2006 08:03 pm (UTC)
Choose people who have funny sounding names.

Some guy in Anne Arundel County is (forgot his first name) McConkey. It makes me laugh everytime and I think "McDonkey, what a dork." I'm sure he's a fine gentleman....it just makes me laugh. =)
ccohoon
Nov. 8th, 2006 03:12 am (UTC)
I got at least one vote for State Attorney. If that doesn't work out I hope I win for Sheriff. That would be awesome!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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