Monday, November 7, 2016

Finally! Election Day Tomorrow

It's about time. Just one more day of ridiculous numbers of ads, yard signs, flyers in the mail, and media coverage of every little thing any candidate says or does. (OK, that last one isn't going away, but it should at least slow down.)
I'll do both, thanks.
Everyone and his dog is talking about the presidential election, of course. I'm voting for Clinton, for reasons stated months ago. Nothing has changed, no matter what the frantic media coverage wants you to believe. I'm not particularly happy about it, though voting for the (hopefully) first female President is kinda cool. Mostly, I'm voting in the hope that she can keep US politics from getting any worse for now, and not do any major damage to international relations or the economy. All the other candidates (including the third party folks) are practically promising to do their best to inflict major damage to one or both of those areas.

Enough about that, what about everything else on the ballot? My district has one other federal race, for US Representative, which is a shoo-in for Justin Amash. I agree with him on practically nothing in terms of policy, but I do like the way he conducts his business. Still, I'll probably vote for the Democrat, though it doesn't really matter how I vote. Due to the way my district is drawn, Amash is going to win regardless.

We also have a State Representative race, with no incumbent due to term limits. I plan to vote for Lynn Mason, although I'd be shocked if she won. Again, the district is drawn to be very safe for Republicans.

The rest of the state-level races are about education, and to be honest I know very little about any of the people running. I did some quick looks around their websites and Internet searches, but for the most part they all say much the same things about putting the students first, supporting teachers, etc. The few differences break almost exactly along party lines. Examples: the Republicans support increased local control and more charter schools, the Democrats want the state setting standards and focusing on improving public schools, and the third parties seem to mostly want to abolish large parts of the system. I'm going to end up voting straight Democratic, I think, simply because I believe that as a general rule the Democratic positions on education lead to more equitable availability of education to all citizens.

Then we get to the local level, with 10 different county and township races, many of which have only one name listed on the ballot. (Republican, of course.) Very little information about any of these people beyond the basic "I support community and families" stuff that every politician says. Where there is a choice, I'm going to vote for whichever name I have not seen on any yard signs or in my mailbox, on the general principle that the names plastered all over the place are more annoying. I expect that 99% of the responsibilities in these jobs could be executed by any competent human that actually qualified to be on the ballot, so it's not going to matter a whole lot either way.

After this, there are 10 "non-partisan" races, which is a bald-faced lie. I've been seeing ads for the Michigan Supreme Court races, for instance, featuring the two Republican candidates. The party affiliation may not be listed on the ballot, but it's certainly still part of the races. Several of these races also have only one choice listed. I would much rather not vote for judges at all - the federal appointment system seems much smarter - but it's on the ballot. Finding information that actually distinguishes one candidate from another is nigh impossible for a layman like me - they all seem to have experience, and all claim to support the law/community/etc. I think I'll go with the same "vote for whoever annoyed me the least with constant ads" method as mentioned above.

Finally, we have two proposals. The first is an increase in property tax to support the John Ball Zoo, both the primary campus and educational outreach programs, which I will absolutely support. (Despite the fact that the zoo has their own set of annoying ads around town. Not the fault of the animals or school kids.) The second is for an enhanced 9-1-1 service, paid for with an extra charge on "communication service suppliers' billings" (basically, phone bills). I'll support that one, too, on the general principle that skimping on things like emergency services tends to come back to bite you later on.

I signed up to get my flu shot tomorrow, so I can take care of two necessary but mildly painful things in one trip. Doctor's office, then the polling station, then home to read or play video games or stream some TV show...anything but watch election coverage.

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