A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

My vote

November 4, 2008
Emilie Phillips

The right to vote is an incredible right. But at the same time it is an incredible headache. I live in a small town, so the actual voting process went fine. What drives me nuts is trying to become an educated voter.

My sources for information are the internet and the radio. The radio had many interviews and debates, but the only positions for which I managed to form a decision were the presidential and gubernatorial. The radio did cover the US senate and house and the NH senate and house, but I never seemed to get a grasp on who actually cared about the issues I did.

This left me with my usual last minute crunch on the internet. My first problem was finding what positions were going to be on the ballot. I apparently failed because I got surprised at the polls with a pack of county level offices. For US congress, there was a decent amount of information available online, but as usual there wasn’t as much information on the challengers because they had no voting record. And in general it is a lot easier to find what the candidates say they will do, than actual evidence of their behavior and competence.

Finally I worked on the NH level races. The information I could find on the internet was really spotty. For the senate and executive council I basically found the candidate’s statements and nothing else. The house race was hopeless. In NH there is one representative per 3,000 people, so I had to pick 4. I ended up finding 3 activist groups with different adgendas I think I agree with and voted for each of their highest ranked candidate.

So how do mere mortals decide ther vote if I find it so difficult? Is there some magic information in a newspaper to which I am not subscribed?


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Comments (4)

  • You’re assuming, of course, that the average voter takes the time to evaluate candidates’ positions and voting records, rather than going mostly off advertising, news reports, and (probably most important) gut feeling and pre-existing political affiliation.

  • Different Way to do Elections

    Virginia is unusual since it only does federal offices on this 4 year cycle. The state wide elections are 1 year off the federal ones. And local elections are in May of the state wide year instead of November.

    Therefore it is easier to get educated because everything is spread out.

  • Snohomish county distributes a voter’s information guide with statements from each candidate, but in some cases that’s all the information there is at the local level. Look on the bright side – a lot of our local offices are people running unopposed.

  • I love mail in ballot in CA. They mail them out a month before, with big booklet of information, as well as tons of pamphlets. It gives me time to look things up at the comfort of my home and no surprises.