How I Voted, 2011

I mentioned over on Twitter that I voted early this year, because I was traveling on election day. This precipitated questions about how I voted, and in particular what my vote on Issue 2 was. All right, here’s how I voted. For those of you following along at home, here’s the Ohio Secretary of State’s page on the statewide issues on the ballot.

Issue 1: This one raises the age one may be initially elected to judgeship to 75 (the current age is 70), and also and independently amends the State Constitution regarding courts of conciliation and the governor’s ability to appoint supreme court commissions.

I voted NO, because among other things in Ohio judges up to age 80 may be assigned to the bench, so I’m not entirely sure what benefit this change offers and I am disinclined to change a working process without substantial reason. Also I’m disinclined to vote on an issue that does two entirely separate and unrelated things (in this case raising maximum age to be elected a judge and the stuff regarding courts of conciliation and supreme court commissions); that’s bad drafting. Moreover the issues regarding courts of conciliation and supreme court commissions don’t seem to be hugely pressing ones; I don’t think they have to be dealt with now. Indeed I want to see a compelling argument that it needs to be dealt with at all, and my general philosophy when it comes to constitutions, state or otherwise, is “don’t mess with them unless absolutely necessary.”

Issue 2: This issues asks Ohio voters to retain (with a “yes” vote) or repeal (with a “no” vote) Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 5, which was the bill that substantially curtailed the ability of Ohio public employees to collectively bargain, especially in respect to benefits.

I voted NO, because I have the overall philosophical belief that generally speaking people should be allowed to collectively bargain, and while there are several problems I personally have with how unions do things, I don’t think how the Ohio state government dealt with it was the right way to do it; it was basically the attempt by a bunch of politicians who hate unions to cut some balls when they thought they could get away with it. The action wasn’t particularly popular here in Ohio, and the polling for Issue 2 suggests the “No” vote will carry the day. But I don’t believe in polls, I believe in going to the polls and casting my vote.

Issue 3: The issue amends the Ohio state constitution, basically in an attempt to get around any federal mandate to carry health insurance (see: the health care laws passed by the US government).

I voted NO, because as noted before, my general philosophy with constitutions is not to mess with them unless absolutely necessary, and even if I were inclined to agree with this particular proposal, I don’t see why it merits being enshrined in the state constitution rather than simply being a law. And before you ask, yes, I’ve applied this thinking even to issues I would be inclined to agree with, if the issue is to amend the state constitution. That I see this proposal as unnecessary and not beneficial is icing on that constitutional cake.

Also on the ballot where I am: Three local levies, one for emergency services in my township and two for handicapped and social services in my county. I voted for all of them, because I found them reasonable requests and I can afford the rather small tax hike they would entail for me. If you want services, you have to pay for them. In terms of the public servants on the ballot, I voted for the incumbents because I haven’t heard that they’ve been doing a bad job.

And those are my votes for 2011.

 

28 thoughts on “How I Voted, 2011

  1. As a former resident of the ‘is it Tuesday? Let’s write an amendment to the constitution’ state, you must find Ohio rather restful.

  2. If you want services, you have to pay for them.
    And more importantly, not services for you personally, but services for your community at large.

    I don’t have children and yet my tax dollars are used to educate other people’s children. Why? Should I have to pay????? Because taxes are the dues we pay to live in a civil society.

    And some day I might be handicapped or someone I love or have children or need that emergency service.

  3. If you want services, you have to pay for them.

    That’s the kind of crazy talk that just might save the country.

  4. While I generally don’t like to know what people think about the politics in their state (I liken it to peeping in on them while using the restroom), it was gratifying to know that you, like me, tend to resist changes to the constitution, especially when the advocates for such change have no real basis for the amendment rather than just enacting a law that would save the same purpose.

  5. Peter Cibulskis:

    “And more importantly, not services for you personally, but services for your community at large.”

    Yes. I have this crazy idea that the general welfare is part of my remit as a citizen and taxpayer.

  6. I will be voting NO on Issue 2 because the restriction on collective bargaining and doing away with binding arbitration by making it a law that the employer’s offer MUST be the final result of any negotiations, no matter how egregious it might be. The insistance by supporters that this bill will make things “fair” to private employees who have to pay for their benefits is just a shitty way to go about it. Most (something like 93%) of the public employees in unions in Ohio already pay between 12 and 15% of their benefits, and those 7% who pay less, most pay around 10%. What supporters of Issue 2 won’t say is that most public employees have either had wage freezes for several years now, or have actually had rollbacks in wages, including furlough days, so they are not living high on the hog. In addition, the bill (S.B. 5) is a huge bill (50 pages long, printed out in the Cleveland Plain Dealer), and the part about kicking union workers in the teeth really should have been its own entity, since they knew full well this would be so contentious. Kasich and his cronies have been saying they would “go back and fix things” because they knew the stripping of collective bargaining/binding arbitration was so blatantly unfair, but only his cronies believe him.

  7. Thank you for this post. I will be hiking my carcass up the two blocks to the elementary school to vote on those three issues plus other things (not certain on local issue 96, may get my D&D dice out for that one).

    I wholeheartedly agree with “If you want services, you have to pay for them.”

  8. The point in politics where I get into trouble with others is the ones who don’t want the services, believing they can do things better themselves (despite fairly consistent evidence that no, they actually can’t in many cases).

  9. In terms of the public servants on the ballot, I voted for the incumbents because I haven’t heard that they’ve been doing a bad job.

    I always vote against the incumbent. If you hear that they have been doing a bad job, then that’s justification for voting them out. If you don’t hear that they have been doing a bad job, then they just aren’t trying hard enough, and that’s justification for voting them out.

    Sorry incumbents; tails, you lose; heads, the other guy wins.

  10. If you want services, you have to pay for them.

    Indeed. Elizabeth Warren had a really good speech about this a couple weeks ago:

    “I hear all this, oh this is class warfare, no! There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you! But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory…You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea–God Bless! Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

  11. I always vote against the incumbent. If you hear that they have been doing a bad job, then that’s justification for voting them out. If you don’t hear that they have been doing a bad job, then they just aren’t trying hard enough, and that’s justification for voting them out.

    Wait, what? So no matter what, the incumbent is always the worst option, because there’s no way that they can do a good job just because they have the job? That makes no sense whatsoever.

  12. I get the feeling you may not get what you voted for as I’m sure the rest of the voters in your state will vote the opposite.

    Down here we have a very controversial ‘anti-abortion’ law (aka “Initiative 26) & yet another “Voter ID” law up for voting next week. I intend to vote “NO” on each, even though my gut feeling is it may be a foregone conclusion no matter what.

  13. Blunt is a troll.
    Don’t feed the troll.

    The idea that there are no good elected officials is so insane that it can only be trolling.
    Voting out the incumbent always ends up with your positions being ignored.

    example:
    I am a single issue voter. I vote for the candidate which is pro-choice. period.
    Voting against the incumbent would end up electing anti-choice people who think women should suffer.

    /gahhhhhhhhhh why am I feeding the troll?

  14. Clear2grey:

    “I get the feeling you may not get what you voted for as I’m sure the rest of the voters in your state will vote the opposite.”

    That happens sometimes. I’m focused on voting in the manner I feel is more correct for my personal political beliefs and aspirations. If no one else votes the same way, oh well.

  15. Thanks for putting thought into your votes (at least on the initiatives). I have gotten pretty fed up with all the mindless “You must vote! Go vote!” propaganda in the last few years.

    We don’t need more people to vote, we need more people to *think* before they vote. I’m of the opinion that if you don’t have an educated opinion on a particular issue, don’t vote. You don’t have to fill in an option for every issue or candidacy; I sent in my mail ballot a couple days ago and left four of the items without responses because I had not been able to take enough time to properly educate myself on the candidates and the ballot measure at stake. Actually, on one of them the information in the voter’s pamphlet and the websites of the opposing sides was so mishmash and confusing I didn’t trust myself to take a stance on it. Either way, if I don’t know what I’m voting for, I shouldn’t vote at all.

    John, you’re a smart dude, but voting for the incumbents because you haven’t heard they’ve been doing a bad job…is that really the best thing? I mean, if you had heard they’d been doing a good job, then sure, go for it. But is the absence of negativity really positivity? Or maybe is this a reasonable response to the fact that most political news is weighted toward the negative, so that if you haven’t heard anything positive it’s not because they haven’t done anything positive, but just because the news is only interested in carrying the Bad Stuff? I can see how that would be the case, in an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” sort of way.

    (Oy, I loathe politics.)

  16. ancorder at 12:56: “We don’t need more people to vote, we need more people to *think* before they vote. ”

    Well, yes, but. Thinking and voting isn’t sufficient, either. The benefits of thinking before voting (or buying or whatever) are significantly muted when the information that someone bases their thinking on is incomplete, slanted, and/or wrong. Garbage in, garbage.

    Sure, clear-headed thinking can help cut through the crap, but most people have *lives*, and the bullshit is unending.

    If only there were a group of people, maybe even an entire professional class, whose job it would be to do their best to dig through the bullshit, keep a journal of the facts they find, and periodically report those facts in regular publications. I bet there’d be a good market for that, if they weren’t co-opted by the bullshitters into comparing the smells of the different piles of crap.

  17. As a library worker who is facing contract negotiations next year, I thank you. Our administration is so adamant that they refuse to even try interest-based bargaining. I shudder to imagine what cuts would be imposed if SB5 takes effect.

  18. I love your thoughts on the mil levies. Myself, I’m of the mind that taxes going towards education in particular are an investment in the future of the country, not a pay for your kids thing. Crazy eh? I’ve also recently come to the conclusion that the whole government budget discussion is bass-ackwards, people need to decide what they want the govt to do first, and then lets talk about how much that will cost and raise the money to do so.

  19. I’ve also recently come to the conclusion that the whole government budget discussion is bass-ackwards, people need to decide what they want the govt to do first, and then lets talk about how much that will cost and raise the money to do so.

    There was a GREAT scifi short story in Analog back in the 70s. When people filled out their yearly taxes, they allocated which department their tax dollars would be spent on.

    If no one funded local pork project, their would be no funding for local pork projects.

    VA, social safety net, education, science, NPR, state department.

    You think we should fund the DOD, you pay for it.

  20. There was a GREAT scifi short story in Analog back in the 70s. When people filled out their yearly taxes, they allocated which department their tax dollars would be spent on.
    That would be interesting, I have a suspicion though that, especially in something fairly private like filling out tax forms, personal greed would be even more rampant than it is today. Perhaps I’m wrong, I tend to be rather pessimistic about what people will actually do.

  21. Meanwhile, in Georgia, a number of counties and cities are putting the question of alcohol sales on Sunday on the ballot. Prior to this, state law forbade the sale of alcohol from package stores or grocery stores on Sunday, so if you wanted a six-pack for your Sunday afternoon football game or wine with your Sunday dinner, you had to stock up no later than Saturday night. After a number of attempts, the Georgia legislature FINALLY voted into a law a measure that would allow people to vote on a local level whether or not they wanted Sunday alcohol sales in their municipality. The first batch of counties and cities has put the question on the ballot this year, so we may get more people voting in local elections than we have in years. Should be interesting to see how it shakes out–I’m guessing the places that vote “yes” will benefit from an influx of business from the residents of the counties that vote “no” or haven’t put the measure up to vote yet. (I live in the City of Sandy Springs, which did put Sunday sales on the ballot, and I was glad to cast my early vote on the matter.)

  22. AlexB: “I’m of the mind that taxes going towards education in particular are an investment in the future of the country …”.

    More than that, really. Education is basic infrastructure. It makes all other worthwhile investments — public and private — more likely to succeed.

    I wonder how much of the expansion of the middle class and the general economic success of the US after WWII can be traced to the fact that the GI Bill massively expanded access to post-secondary education?

  23. alexb:That would be interesting, I have a suspicion though that, especially in something fairly private like filling out tax forms, personal greed would be even more rampant than it is today. Perhaps I’m wrong, I tend to be rather pessimistic about what people will actually do.

    Sure, but you could force spending to be allocated at the department level. So that people would not be able to put their dollars into pork projects in their district. Nor even in their state. (Although allocation by state would go along way to solving some of the red state/blue state whining.)

    But you are completely correct. So many of the problems in society today are caused by NIMBY thinking. If public education was funded at the national level, rather than local, there would be massive improvement in the education system, overall. (Or would the unintended consequences be an increase in private schools in the rich areas and even WORSE public schools? sigh)

  24. Very pleased to hear your opinion about constitutional referenda. Personally, I think they are the bane of modern state government. In a general election year we average more than 10 various constitutional amendments. Most are special interest issues. Almost all have ended up in court with the court trying to find a way to reconcile the various contradictory “constitutional” mandates. It is a waste of time and money and our state constitution is waterlogged with amendments that have been repealed by subsequent amendments or found to be unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution. I, personally would vote in favor of a constitutional amendment prohibiting amending the state constitution by popular election. Just saying’…

  25. @Griffin Barber

    While I generally don’t like to know what people think about the politics in their state (I liken it to peeping in on them while using the restroom)…

    Would that make political pundits exhibitionists? :P

    @John Scalzi

    I don’t believe in polls, I believe in going to the polls and casting my vote.

    I’d buy that T-shirt! Well, if I wore graphic tees…maybe I’d wear that one anyway…

  26. Peter, Alex,

    I think that in the privacy of their own homes people would allocate their tax money strategically, based on what they see happening in public (and what they want to see happen).

    NPR funding would come from taxpayers who support NPR, and plenty of taxpayers do, but if NPR were more than adequately funded, then some NPR-liking taxpayers would go with their second choice, whatever that happened to be.

    Conversely, you may think social safety nets are more important than NPR, but if you don’t see people starving for lack of government assistance, you might elect to send your money to public broadcasting.

    In the end, we’d probably wind up in close the same place, where some projects we disagree with get funded because our neighbors would allocate in similar ways to how they currently vote for representatives to allocate.

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