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Why I hate Ballot Measures and Other Votings Rants

With election day upon us, here are a few random thoughts:

1. Lots of chatter about long lines at the polls. There were none at my polling place - although I went later than most people i guess.

2. Even with no lines at the polls, voting in San Francisco is about a 1/2 hour process. Everyone is given three separate ballots. The first has the big races on it: President, House of Representatives, etc. The second has all the state propositions on it and the third has all the city propositions. All three are double sided and pretty small font. Getting through them takes a while.

3. The ballot measures annoy me. Not any one of them in particular, but the entire concept. The point of a representative democracy is that making an informed decision on many issues is actually a full time job. You need to research the issues involved, consider the various subtleties of all sides of it and then, only then, weigh in with a vote.

But neither you or I have the time to do this. So we outsource it - pay a legislature to represent us geographically and do this job for us. Makes sense, right? By outsourcing we make strides in ensuring that issues get the consideration deserved. Ballot measures are a disservice to this idea.

4. In lieu of a thoughtful decision making process, the authors of the ballot measures try to use flowery language to sway you to their side. There was a ballot measure about the humane treatment of animals. Of course I'm for that - every one is for that. But what does that mean? Is there a standard? How can I be expected to make an informed decision on this based on the 50 words in the ballot measure? It's really frustrating - and the flowery language annoys me further.

5. It's no surprise that as far as blue states go, California is about the bluest. And San Francisco is famous for its interesting approach to politics. With that, I think it takes away from some of the dignity of the political process (if there is any left) when the ballot - like the SF one did - is allowed to include naming a city sewage plant after George W. Bush. I know, i know, I sound like a humorless, old man - but I couldn't help but be put off by that.

6. If you vote they require you to vote on EVERY measure. You can not leave any blank or your ballot is not accepted. I learned this the hard way when I tried to punt on some measures I had no clue about. &*$#'ing ballot measures!

7. Most important election of our lifetime, eh? For some reason, I'm thinking that's not going to be so.

7. We got our problems, but IMHO we're still the best country in the world to live in. People from elsewhere will go through unimaginable personable hardship just to come over here and live in this country. That we've built a place so unique, successful and appealing is something we can all be proud of. Ballot measures and all...


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 4, 2008 1:15 PM.

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