Barring some astounding change of circumstances, here is how I’m voting in the elections on November 7th. As reference for those of you who don’t know, I live in Ohio, in Darke County.
Governor: Ted Strickland. Aside from Ken Blackwell and his cronies spending the last couple of weeks trying to suggest that Strickland is a NAMBLA-loving homo in order to prop up “the base,” there’s also the little matter that given Blackwell’s history with elections, I’m not entirely convinced he puts the democratic process above the marching orders of his party. And all that is even before I get into his policy positions. Also, the level of corruption in Ohio Republican politics makes the national GOP look like choirboys. This is one of those “abort, reload” elections ’round these here parts. Ted Strickland doesn’t set my political heart aflame, but he’s not a bad choice for governor. I feel sorry for him he’ll be spending most of his term cleaning out the crap left behind from Bob Taft and the Ohio GOP, but I don’t think he doesn’t know that’ll be part of his job description.
State Executive Undercard (Lt. Gov, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor): Straight Democratic except for Auditor. See the “abort, reload” comment above. The folks running for these positions have tolerable politics as far as I can see, and this being Ohio, having Democrats in the office doesn’t mean it’ll suddenly become Marin County on Lake Erie. I expect moderate, sensible government, and if I don’t get it, there’s always 2008 and 2010; hopefully Ohio’s GOP will have had a brain transplant by then and will have people in it who aren’t corrupt and stupid. As for the Auditor position, Mary Taylor’s an actual CPA and has been a state rep, so she probably knows her way around the budget and knows where the bodies (so to speak) are buried. I think that’s worth a shot at the job.
Senator: Sherrod Brown. This is actually a close one for me. Mike DeWine is moderate and not a fire-breathing partisan moron, and I strongly suspect that if 2004 had gone the other way and Kerry was in the White House, I’d toss my vote DeWine’s way, if for no other reason than I’m a believer in the idea that the US government works best when the Congress and the president aren’t of the same political party. But Bush got a second term in ’04, and this Congress has done very little to stop his worst abuses of the political system; it’s time to switch the leadership in the Congress to people who will actually stomp on Bush’s pointy little head. I’m sorry for DeWine that’s he’s caught in the middle of this; he’s occasionally shown some spine when it comes to Bush. Just not when push comes to shove, though. We’re well past the “shove” stage now, I think. I’ve got my problems with Brown, among them the fact that he voted for that damn fool legislation that tossed Habeas Corpus over the side. Believe me, he’ll be hearing from me about it. But I do know that if Bush’s worst Constitutional abuses are going to be stopped, it’s not going to be with GOP. Sorry, DeWine. Hope you have another job lined up somewhere.
Congress: No vote. I’ve noted this before: I can’t imagine voting for John Boehner, but his opponent Mort Meier’s got nothing that interests me, and even when I’m in “Abort, Reload” mode, I’d like to have the feeling that the person I’m voting for has something going on other than “I’m not the other guy,” and that’s all Meier’s got. Also, to be blunt about it, Boehner’s not great for the rest of you when he’s in the majority leadership, but he’s not bad for the 8th district, where I live, and maybe in the minority leadership he’ll suck less for the rest of you. This is probably one of the safest contested districts in the country — it’s so locked up for Boehner that I’m not aware of anyone even bothering to do a poll here — but it still would have been nice to have an opposing candidate I felt was worth my vote. I don’t think I’ve got one this time around, so I’m sitting this one out. Ohio Democrats, if you want my vote here, then you should field a candidate I think is worth my time.
State Senate: Tom Roberts. He’s the incumbent and seems to have a low-key effectiveness, so far as I can tell. The Dayton Daily News endorsed him (and its endorsements are not especially partisan — it endorsed Mike DeWine for Senator, for example), which I found useful in this case. As an aside, he’s the fellow who apparently got me recognized by the Ohio Assembly for winning the Campbell. This isn’t nearly enough to secure my vote, but it makes me feel good about the fact I’m able to vote for him.
State Assemblyperson: Dave Fisher. My current assemblyperson is Diana Fessler, who doesn’t seem to be particularly effective or ineffective, save in the latter case for an incident in which she accidentally voted for accepting the closure of a local military base when she meant to vote against it. Whoops. Fisher has an ugly-ass Web site and one of the worst haircuts I’ve ever seen in my life, and I think his plan to boost education by cutting property taxes has something of a Laffer Curve smell to it. But I like that he’s putting a priority on education, and we’ll see if he’s amenable to plans to get to that goal even if they’re not his own.
Bradford School Levy: .75% income tax/5yrs: I’m voting for this, because I know the local school needs it, and I can afford it.
State Issue 1 (Changes to Workers Compensation law): Provisionally I’ll vote for it. It appears to make some sensible implementations of workman’s comp, although I’m going to do a little more reading on the issue before I vote to make sure the issue says what I think it says. It’s fairly complicated.
State Issue 2 (Raises State Minimum Wage to $6.85/hr): I’m for raising the minimum wage, because the current federal minimum wage of $5.15 well and truly sucks, and I don’t buy the argument that raising the minimum wage will slaughter businesses by the thousands. However, this state issue will stick the minimum wage into the Ohio Constitution, and I think that’s excessive; Constitutions in my opinion are for fundamental rights. There’s no reason to put this in Ohio’s Constitution; make it a regular law instead. Also, in my opinion, $6.85 is too low for a minimum wage. So, I’ll be voting “no,” and then badgering my state reps to get on this. It looks like there’s going to be a lot of changes in the state house, so a minimum wage increase could be legislatively feasible. And of course the national Democrats are also making noises about it.
State Issue 3 (“Learn and earn”): Allows slot machines at horse tracks and other locations with 30% of revenues to go to college scholarships and grants. There’s no way in Hell I’m voting for this. Aside from the fact it’s another Constitutional amendment (for the love of God, why?), I find the idea of the slot owners getting to keep their cut of the profits tax-free appalling, and I have a moral issue with funding education through gambling. Call me a crazy fool, but I think the State of Ohio should support higher education without enabling addicts and behavior that disproportionately affects the poor (unless one is under the impression that it’s millionaires who spend all their time playing the slots).
State Issues 4 & 5 (“Smoke Less” and “Smoke Free” initiatives): These initiatives offer blanket bans on smoking in various places both public and private; one of these state issues is more stringent than the other. One of these would be slotted into the state Constitution, which just seems plain stupid. I don’t smoke and I prefer other people don’t, and I’m not opposed to some places being smoke-free by law. But I think both of these are overreaching, and also this seems like one of those things a legislature gets paid for dealing with.
That’s where I am with the voting thing.