Quick Note to the Americans

Today is a day of voting in many states and localities. Remember to vote if you can. I just did — I voted for township trustees, school board members and on tax levies for parks and emergency services. Nothing sexy but all actually important stuff. But then, voting isn’t about the sexy. It’s about having a voice. So, you know, go do that voting thing.

(Today may also be a voting day in other places that are not the US. If so, please vote there also. Thank you for your engagement in participatory democracy.)

40 thoughts on “Quick Note to the Americans

  1. For those who tend to ignore the local elections because they aren’t “important”, that is absolutely true—if you never have your house burn down or need to drive on a local road or care (one way or the other) whether a new shopping center gets built on the vacant land a block away or use the public library. So stay home, and save your vote for “important” matters.

  2. I’ve always found that the national elections/issues are lots more fun to talk about, but the local elections deal with the pragmatic, nuts-and-bolts factors of my daily life that directly impact me.

  3. Early voted on Saturday on municipal offices and an ordinance on fracking within city limits, as well as educational funding for k-12. I never miss an election. Democracy only works when people vote.

  4. [Deleted because implicitly and stupidly comparing one's trollage to Plato does still does not mitigate said obnoxious trollage, nor does deleting a troll suggest I delete anyone who disagrees with me. In short: Obi, please do fuck right off. Thanks - JS]

  5. Besides the “keep everything running smoothly” aspect of local elections, politicians who eventually wind up on national ballots often get their start at the local level. So a vote today can help shape the candidate pool for decades to come.

  6. If you live in the Cincinnati area (specifically Hamilton County) be sure to vote for Issue 1 — a renewal levy to fund our renowned Public Library. It’s a renewal, and won’t raise your taxes.

  7. First note, normally low turnout often makes voting easier this time of year. So particularly in the areas where bad actors are hoping you’ll consider it too inconvenient, turning out to vote is especially important, particularly if you’re turning out to vote against them.

    Second note, a tumblr of removed troll comments from Whatever could be very entertaining, I think.

  8. Don’t forget that if you live in Minneapolis in the mayoral race you can vote for Captain Jack Sparrow OR the candidate from the Pirate Party.

    Next time I hope someone will stand from the Monster Raving Loony Party.

  9. Oh, heck. I didn’t know I’d be staring out the window at the rainy Schwartzwald on election day or I’d have gotten an absentee ballot. Think ahead, people. I didn’t and I don’t get a say in an important school bond issue.

  10. Nothing on the ballot where I live this year, but I’ll think happy thoughts about the rest of the folks out voting today.

  11. A thing to remember this fifth of November:
    Government shutdown and rot.
    I see no reason why Tea Party Treason
    Should ever be forgot.

  12. I’m voting against Chris Christie, even though Barbara Buono has no real chance. His particular brand of scumbaggery is pretty popular. I bet he’s not getting a lot of gay votes, of course.

    I’m voting straight Democratic ticket where that’s relevant, except that I’m writing in a candidate against our Christie-embracing Democratic Assembly candidate.

    I’m voting to re-elect the Mayor in Hoboken, who fortunately is running against TWO developer-backed losers. Either one could beat her, but we’re hoping their trumps will fall on each other, if you understand me. One of them campaigned successfully for Council in my ward in part by saying the Mayor was wasting money on all those flood control measures. Post-Sandy, he’s campaigning against her by saying she’s not doing enough about flood control. People seem to be seeing through this GOP-style tactic (he’s technically a Democrat, as are all the candidates for Council and Mayor in Hoboken).

    I’m voting for the reformers on the school board.

    I’m voting to raise New Jersey’s minimum wage, and tie future automatic increases to inflation by constitutional amendment. That’s how the minimum wage should have been done all along, and the increased rate is still too low.

  13. No voting in DC today, but across the river in Virginia there are important races, not only statewide but down-ballot as well.

    Exercise your franchise.

  14. Here in Virginia we had a choice between a dirtbag, and someone who’s an American Taliban.

    Sigh.

    At least the dirtbag will do less harm in Richmond…

  15. Also, even if you only have the “little” local races to vote on today, remember that the winners of these school board, city council, and mayoral races frequently become tomorrow’s candidates for state and congressional races. So vote today for people you want to vote for in the “big” elections down the line.

  16. I walked into my local poll, gave them my ID, and got a hassle from one of the people behind the table because my drivers license doesn’t reflect my current address. However, and this is an important however, I have a card that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles gave me that has the correct address and also states that this card is to be carried with the license until the license is renewed. Now, I could have gone over and “renewed” the license, but it would be out of my pocket expense, and it wouldn’t have changed the expiration date of my license. Since the State of Ohio has seen fit to spend something like 50 cents to give me a valid ID supplement to go with my plastic drivers license card instead of making me spend several bucks for a replacement license, I don’t see why this person has a problem with it. It’s almost as if she’s telling me that it is inconvenient for her (and she went so far as to say that I should have gotten a new license in order to meet peoples’ demands). It’s not her place to say things like that to me, a registered voter. My voter ID card has the current address on it, and several other cards in my possession have my current address. Only the plastic drivers license card does not have my current ID, but that’s okay as long as I carry that paper from the BMV that has my current address.
    So, despite the fact that I inconvenience her by making her read both the license and the supplemental card, she had no choice but to let me go ahead and vote. Well, I’ve worked as an election worker before, too, and it’s not a pleasant job when you have someone who wants to give you a hard time, too. I just thought it was rude of her to start making the comments that she did, without having the facts first, or without letting me finish digging the supplemental card out of my wallet. Yes, I did try to get them both out at the same time…..so it wasn’t like they were inconvenienced by me having to pull my wallet back out of my pocket.

    I take my voting seriously, folks. So should you!

  17. Somehow, despite having just had the primary for our election to replace our newly senatorial House rep, and despite elections all around us today, including Boston’s first new mayor in 20 years, we are not voting today. But I will take this advice to heart when we do vote in a week or so.

  18. gweeptish@10:47: I disagree. Your right to complain is not conditioned on whether or not you voted. Taken to it’s logical extreme, your statement would strip those who are ineligible to vote of their right to complain. Children, immigrants, ex-felons, etc. None of these groups are, or should be, incapable of complaining when something is wrong.

  19. Blaise, those who are eligible to vote and do not are, obviousy, in a different category than people who are not eligible.

    That said, we have free speech in this country, so anyone is allowed (by law) to complain.

    On the other hand, if you complain about an elected official, I ask you if you voted, and you say no, I will exercise my right to utterly dismiss what you say.

  20. Argh. I mean, of course, assuming you were eligible (and didn’t try to vote and get stopped by some GOP vote-suppression tactic).

  21. No election here today (Maryland), but in general, I love the way the Internet helps with this. A day or two before the election, I look at everything and everyone on the ballot, and it’s rarely difficult to decide how to vote. Love it!

  22. @Blaise Pascal – that’s the kind of excuse those who don’t want to vote because they’re too Hip to(!) pass out. If you wanted to vote but couldn’t, you would have phrased yourself differently, rather than being all smugly defensive…..

    Like @Xopher Halftongue and @fuzznose, I take my franchise as a citizen seriously.

  23. Timeliebe, the only reason I haven’t voted today yet is because I’m at work. I will be voting this evening, and I spent part of the weekend researching the seven ballot initiatives on my current ballot.

    Like @Xopher Halftongue, @fussnose, and you, I, too, take my franchise as a citizen seriously, and I resent your assumption that I don’t.

    I will not, however, dismiss the concerns of those around me because they chose not to vote. I will not ask them if they voted, and I may even allow their concerns to sway how I vote.

    Too hip to vote? Too apathetic to vote? Too busy to vote? Don’t know how to register/vote? Disenfranchised because of apolitical circumstances (such as moved too soon before the election)? Disenfranchised because of political shenanigans? Disenfranchised because of criminal record? None of that means you don’t have legitimate opinions, legitimate gripes. None of that means you don’t have a right to speak your mind. And none of that means I should be comfortable telling you to shut up.

  24. Agreeing with people above that the local issues are often the most important. It means having a say in whether your sewers keep working, what your children are taught in school, how many cops you have, whether the library’s open, and who your state and national representatives will be later on. Sure, your freshman state rep might lose her next election, or spend 20 years at the State Capitol doing not much but keeping the chair warm (ahem, mine)… or he might end up President 15 years down the line.

    After seeing “The Daily Show” yesterday, I do really feel for you guys in Virginia. At least the dirtbag doesn’t want to keep me chained to the stove while giving birth repeatedly, so go dirtbag.

    @Xopher, your choices sound good, and your rhyme is both catchy and historical!

  25. Everyone who voted in support of your local public library, thank you. We aren’t voting this year where I live, and due to where our local libraries are located on the government tree we don’t vote on their funding, but thank you on behalf of all the other libraries out there.

  26. Blaise, I don’t think you don’t take your franchise seriously. If people are too apathetic to vote, won’t they be too apathetic to complain? If not, they’re hypocrites, since they didn’t take the only action (other than peaceful assembly, etc.) that ordinary citizens are called upon to take. Put another way, they neglected their duty and now are complaining about the result.

    I’m not interested in listening to hypocrites prate. They can, as it’s said, talk to the hand.

    Disenfranchised due to political shenanigans? That’s an entirely different category, with more, not less, right to complain than people who successfully voted. I have to admit I’m a little croggled that you intend to treat both groups the same, and hope I misunderstood.

  27. Voted in NJ. No on Christy. He ran on his personality, not platform. He is too good at playing both sides of the fence. I didn’t expect Buono to win. I disagree with the pundits that say Christy ‘won in a landslide.’ Buono got around 40% of the vote, which is a larger margin than I ecpxpected, frankly, and also says a lot more folks are unhappy with some of Christy’s positions than I realized. A landslide would have been 70/30 or more…
    I vote in local elections, as said, they affect my local taxes, utility bills, restrictions on building a shed in my back yard, libraries, schools, and so on. I dint have children, but I vote on school boards. A few years back I voted against a man who wanted creationism taught as part of the science ciriculum… And I voted for the increase in minimum wage, as well as for letting a percentage of the casino profits go to helping organizations that give service to returned military vets.
    And one of the independent candidates for governor lists his party affiliation as “NSA Did 911″….Sigh. Too true to be good

  28. I found out when I got into the election booth that I had misread the sample ballot. It turns out that of the 5 local races on the ballot, only 1 was contested. I did not like the candidates available in one of the races (2 candidates, 2 seats to fill), so I left that race an undervote. The other 4 races (including the contested one) I did vote in.

    My co-worker was part of an exciting election. He was running for a Town Supervisor seat against long-entrenched incumbents. He was the subject of much mudslinging and negative campaigning (apparently, his intent is to bring “Ithaca-style politics” to his town, among other things). In the end, the voter turn-out was around 60% of the registered voters in his town, about 6 times higher than the normal turnout for an off-year election, and his campaign got about 42% of the vote (it was a 2-seat race, with 2 D and 2 R candidates. He and his fellow D candidate got about 21% of the vote apiece, the 2 R candidates got 28% each).

  29. Sigh.. this is the first time in a long while I didn’t vote. Mainly school board trustees and the like. No major surprises on how things went. Liberal in the land of Conservatives… lol. But still… missed standing in line to at least cast my protest vote. Dang 12 hour work schedule.

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