How I’m Voting, or, Abort & Reload

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.

24 Comments on “How I’m Voting, or, Abort & Reload”

  1. It sounds like you’re talking about how you’ll vote in the future? How soon do you plan on voting?

    Don’t wait ’til election day, if you want to be sure your vote counts!

  2. I already voted, and the only Republican I voted for was a judge who was accused of being pro-rape by his Democratic opponent (who’s not even a judge or a lawyer. At least not a practicing lawyer.) You pull a Kenny Blackwell, I vote for your opponent.

    I feel the same about DeWine as you, John. If it were a Democratic Senate or the other Ohio senator was a Dem, I’d vote for him. That said, I don’t really like Sherrod Brown and never have. I wish the Democrats would have backed Paul Hackett.

    OTOH, I’m still worried I’ll have to put up with Jean Schmidt for two more years. She’s getting louder and shriller everyday. Makes me want to drive to her house in Milford (only 15 miles from here) with a bull horn and shout, “Bitch, shut the hell up! John Murtha will thank you!” Why is the GOP running a tax-and-spend candidate anyway? Can we have Portman back?

  3. You think you’ve got it bad because Sherrod Brown voted for the Military Commissions Act? No, no, no, John, I have it worse. I think the Military Commissions Act is horrible, but not only did both of my senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez of NJ vote for it, but my House representative, Christopher Smith voted for it too! And yet, because I really would love to see at least some part of Congress be controlled by the Democrats (in my dreams, both houses are), I’m still going to be voting for Robert Menendez (who is corrupt in various ways) and Christopher Smith (who is ok, other than the Military Commissions Act). It’s like being stuck between a rock and a hard place, endorsing people who go so against my moral and ethical principles, but hell… I want a Democratic Congress.

  4. Marin County on Lake Erie

    Never happen. It’s just way too cold out there for you guys to start putting redwood hot tubs in your backyards. Also, your houses don’t cost enough.

    Vote Smart has a summary of the WC law.

  5. Mythago:

    “It’s just way too cold out there for you guys to start putting redwood hot tubs in your backyards.”

    But… my neighbors have a redwood hot tub!!

  6. Oh, jeez, I thought they had that fixed. The Ohio constitution I mean. Way back when, you had to amend it to do ANYTHING in Ohio. Apparently you still do. Fault the initial writers for that one. The last time I had a copy (around 1968 or so), the constitution was about half an inch thick and loaded with all kinds of crud. Just goes to show that some things never change…


  7. But… my neighbors have a redwood hot tub!!

    Oh, geez. They don’t use it as a hot tub; that’s their alien/hybrid breeding pod. Didn’t you know?

  8. Mythago, actually hot tubs are very popular. Although her in NE they’re mostly fiberglass with wood slat exteriors. We have covers to keep the snow out. There’s a part of Ohio, Hocking Hills, whose resorts sell coming down to their cabins and hot tub in the middle of winter with the snow. We’re Ohioans, go figure. We also like our maple syrup from the tree.

    John, like you, I’m dead tired of amending the Constitution for things that really don’t need to be there.

  9. Maybe it’s just me but it seems unclear whether you are voting yes or no on State Issues 4 and 5. Perhaps that was intentional.

    The way Issue 4 is written is very deceptive. Basically it sounds like they are wanting to do away with smoking in a bunch of places but they actually are trying to allow smoking in places where it is currently banned.

    Columbus, Ohio went smoke free awhile back and this will be the 3rd attempt they’ve made to make Columbus bars, bowling alleys, et. al. accept smoking again.

    BTW, I’m voting absentee this year so a paper record of my voting will exist.

  10. “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”

    It’s workers’ compensation, not Workman’s compensation. Women work and they get injured too.

    I am a bit of a stickler for that. I have been representing injured workers in Ontario for about 20 years; roughly half of my caseload are women injured on the job.


  11. There’s an Indian “tribe” (? I’m unsure if a corporation should be granted the status of a tribal group) trying to open a casino in this county. No way in Heaven or Hell do I want that here. We have enough social problems without adding that.

    The smoking issues: I don’t like smoking but the last time I checked, it’s still a legal substance. I don’t want Columbus taking over more and more of our private lives and decisions.

  12. Dan Geiser:

    “Maybe it’s just me but it seems unclear whether you are voting yes or no on State Issues 4 and 5. Perhaps that was intentional.”

    I’m voting no on both.

  13. Issue 4 was put on the ballot by the smoking lobby specifically to override Issue 5 should it pass… that’s why it’s a confusing mess. When they realized that Smoke Free was a law and stood a decent chance of passing, they went and wrote up something that sounded similar but had a totally different effect. If 4 passes, it doesn’t matter what happens with 5 because 4 will strike it down in the courts.

    While I think that 5 may be a touch on the draconian side, the fact that I get pretty nauseous whenever someone lights up around me makes me inclined to vote for it.

    And up in the 4th Congressional District, we’re going to be electing a hardline fundamentalist Christian. He won’t be getting my vote, but sadly that’s not enough to stop him. 4th CD hasn’t elected a Democrat since Roosevelt’s second term.

    Also, on the Dave Fischer thing, I think the funniest thing about that photo is that someone forgot to cut it down to a reasonable size, so the picture itself is some two and a half megabytes of downloading. When I’ve got a 6MBps cable modem feeding my computer, it shouldn’t be slow to load a picture unless the server is junk.

    Just my thoughts.

  14. I sent my absentee ballot several weeks ago as I’m currently in Afghanistan. Last time DeWine ran, I voted for the Libertarian. That wasn’t an option this year. I voted for my wife as a write in candidate.

  15. So, I count 16 different things on the ballot. No wonder electronic voting is necessary down there. As long as your ballots are so stuft with stuff, you’ll be open to questions about voting security. A manual count is just too complicated to undertake.

  16. Data point: Here in Texas we have to put up with the same mess about amending the state constitution anytime East Smallsville wants to get modify the pay of its tax assessor. Well, that’s a *slight* exaggeration, but only slight. The thing runs a couple of hundred pages at least, and every so often we end up being asked to vote on issues that make everyone say, “Isn’t this why we have a Legislature?”

  17. BTW, I’m voting absentee this year so a paper record of my voting will exist.

    I don’t have to worry about that. In my little hamlet, paper and marker are still king.

    And I just love the “I’ll vote for corruption so Democrats can win.” That’s priceless.

  18. “So, I count 16 different things on the ballot.”

    Actually there’s more than you think. I have the Columbus, Ohio 12th district absentee ballot in front of me. There are 25 candidates to vote for, 5 statewide issues, and 1 local Columbus city issue for a grand total of 31 things. During the 2004 election because of high-voter turnout we were told by the poll workers we had 5 minutes to vote. I don’t know if I’d heard about this 5 minute dealine ahead of time but for whatever reason I had research the candidates and issues and written down my votes on a piece of paper which I slipped into my back pocket and used in the voting booth. I barely got done in 5 minutes. I have no idea how Grandma would’ve gotten through it.

    Lovely, ain’t it?

  19. Mythago, actually hot tubs are very popular.

    I know; I once went hot-tubbing outdoors, in Michigan, in the middle of January. I promptly fell on a patch of ice that had formed outside of the hot tub. I’m pretty sure that’s when I decided to get the hell out of the Midwest.

  20. “BTW, I’m voting absentee this year so a paper record of my voting will exist.”

    I’m actually going out to Pennsylvania to help run said electronic voting machines, and after a decent training course, here are my observations on that point.

    A fair number of the electronic voting machines provide paper records to go along with their results. That’s good. Talk to your county or state level representatives and have them require voting machines with paper ballots. Tampering with the voting machines on a local or precinct level would take nothing short of a massive conspiracy to alter the results without using voter intimidation or using illegal voters.

    What’s not good is the fact that all of the election machines still use proprietary code without any one organization set up to audit them. Short of using the Mark I eyeball and visually inspecting all paper ballots, election-rigging can still be performed on a manufacturer level. Someone who was smart would easily be able to slide a few percentage points from column A to column B with everyone none the wiser about it. Some companies (*cough*Diebold*cough*) have had issues in the 2004 elections where they were installing uncertified software on the machines. Be wary if scanned recounts are done via barcodes or other data matrix formats rather than optical character recognition (you’ll be able to tell by whether or not a ballot has just names or barcodes as well) because a rigged machine would almost assuredly put out different results in the data area of the paper ballot than in the text area of the paper ballot.

  21. To quote a piece of graffiti seen on a West London bridge a few years ago:

    “If voting changed anything it would be illegal by now”


    “It doesn’t much matter who you vote for, you still end up with a government”

    Not saying I am in 100% agreement but it does make a point…

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