Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Local Primaries

It's (another) election day here in Michigan. Primaries for local and state races are being held today.
It seems odd that the state doesn't just hold these primary elections on the same day as the presidential primary, which happened back in March. You'd think they'd save a lot of time, effort, and money by only having a single day rather than splitting it up. Certainly there would be much higher turnout in presidential election years. Which I suppose might be the reason for having separate days, since lower turnout generally favors incumbents. I don't know if that's true or not, but no one would admit it even if it were.

If you just relied on official communications from the local and state governments, you'd never even know there was an election. Nothing in the mail, no signs along the roads, no announcements on the local news, no email notices, etc. You can't miss all the candidate signs, though, so it's pretty obvious some election is coming up. I didn't even realize we had a primary election until a few weeks ago when my mailbox started overflowing with flyers for the various candidates.

The actual ballot was kind of underwhelming, since it only had five choices to make. Oh, there were quite a few more races than that, but the vast majority had a single candidate running unopposed. I took a brief look at the sample ballot ahead of time, and decided I'd better vote the Republican side of the ballot. That's because there were zero Democratic races with more than one candidate (and many with none at all).

I don't pretend to have a deep understanding of the local political races, but I did do a quick web search for the only ones that I really care much about: township supervisor and state representative. I couldn't find a significant difference between the candidates, to be perfectly honest. Everyone says the same sort of things about family values, small government, honesty, caring about community, and so on. You'd think they'd be trying to distinguish themselves, but it didn't seem that way to me.

So, I voted. It seemed even less impactful than usual, with all the seemingly generic candidates and unopposed races. Still feels important to participate in the process, though.

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