Vote if you Care what happens in your Town

In Current Events, Election Politics on October 25, 2010 at 19:18

Voting day, November 2nd, 2010 is coming up on Tuesday, and I am already hearing the excuse of those that don’t vote.

One of the most ill-informed excuses I have heard to not vote is, “It doesn’t matter who becomes president” and its corollary, “It doesn’t matter who you vote for as your representative.” While both conclusions about our national politicians might be true, those excuses show a complete lack of knowledge regarding elections. President, representative, and senator are a small fraction of what we vote for every year.

Here’s a partial list of the other offices and issues we vote for each election cycle:

State senate and house seats. These people determine education funding, road projects, prison spending, other state spending and state laws. They have as much or more impact on your daily life as Congress does.

State Attorney General that sets policy on law enforcement for the state, like those pesky speed trap cameras in Arizona and other states.

Judges that make decisions regarding issues like the First Amendment and sentencing policy.

City Council, County Council seats and the mayor. First, the city council is actually accountable to you to an extent Congress never will be. They are citizens in your town and can’t run and hide in Washington, DC when things aren’t going well. Because of a responsive city council, we have adult learning centers and new health clinics. Certainly, our council has made mistakes, but they affect you directly.

That is not all, but lets move on the to the other reason to vote, propositions.

Propositions on the ballot are initialed by groups such as corporations, unions, and non-profits. Don’t be fooled, some of those non-profits were set up by corporations or outside interests from other states. Propositions that might be on the ballot include, but are not limited, to the following.

Taxes like the recent 1-cent sales tax that saved thousands of teachers’ jobs in Arizona. If you hate all taxes, you can vote against these propositions.

Civil Rights like California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8. I bet some non-voting gays and lesbians wish they had registered to vote against that one. Remember, these anti-gay laws are put on the ballot to drum up voter turnout amongst conservatives. Do you really want conservatives to set the political agenda in your state. Then why abdicate your vote?

Immigration policy like Proposition 300, that limited services to illegals in Arizona. While I believe it overkill and redundant, it didn’t create racial profiling opportunities like SB 1070 has.

Medical Marijuana laws that have created weird libertarian/hippie coalitions (maybe not so weird since both have a beef with government intrusion into our lives) and support from doctors, nurses, liberals and conservatives have also been on the ballot in several states, and currently in Arizona. The only big money against medical marijuana laws is from the pharmaceutical companies that stand to not make huge if their synthetic THC and other marijuana derivatives are available over the marijuana club counters. Unfortunately, staunch supporters of medical marijuana are also those that think “voting doesn’t matter”. Tough luck on you if this gets on the ballot and you aren’t registered to vote.

Euthanasia laws that allow for heavily supervised and regulated assisted suicide.

Health care bills, also know as “socialized medicine” have been on the ballot in a few states.

Tribal Gambling and State lotteries have been enacted in some states using the proposition method. If you like or hate these things, why not vote?

Public Transit bonds and plans passed or failed due to the proposition process. If you believe in public transit or hate it, you can make your voice heard through the vote.

State laws regarding abortion, almost always for limiting access, have been passed or turned down through propositions. These include public funding laws for family planning clinics that offer abortion services (though mostly they are for family planning: contraception and pre-natal care) and parental notification laws.

State gun laws. Let’s say you want insane serial killers to have guns. Why not vote for that “gun access for everyone law”? Or perhaps you think that insane serial killers shouldn’t have guns and perhaps a background check and waiting period are good ideas to protect law-abiding gun owners. Voting for gun laws in your state is a good option.

There are propositions on every ballot, and not voting doesn’t mean these propositions won’t take affect. So why not vote for or against issues you support or oppose?

If you don’t think city councils, judges, schools boards, mayors, governors or any of the propositions listed make no difference in your life, you are deluded. If you hold such a delusion, perhaps it is better that you don’t vote.

For those that want to learn more about your state and local officials and propositions, I provide the following links. You can also find your own state links by searching +state assembly +(state name). For my peeps in AZ, it’s http://www.azleg.gov/

The best link for voting resources I know of:

To get information about an officials or candidate’s voting record, supporters and other information, go to:

Public Citizen also has good information

For local elections, check your alternative weekly, local dailies, and voting pamphlets. In Tucson, I rely on the Tucson Weekly and other endorsing institutions I support:

Tex Shelters

  1. “State gun laws. Let’s say you want insane serial killers to have guns. Why not vote for that “gun access for everyone law”?”

    Tex the insane serial killer who in known to the government will be in prison so no amount of gun control will stop an unknown serial killer from getting a gun. If I was a felon or was thinking of committing a felony with a firearm I would just buy the gun off the street where it could not be traced. One can buy a gun on the black market just as easily as one buys a joint.

    BTW, I always vote even when others have boycotted elections. I also don’t believe in third party protest votes which in my opinion are akin to staying home.

    • A boycott, unless well organized and supported, is a waste of a vote. There is always something I want to vote on, even in my current “Screw Congress” mood.

      Tex Shelters

      • Well Tex I come from a Union Democrat Family, all with very strong opinions. Growing up My mother said she didn’t care what side of the political fence we were on but if we didn’t care enough to vote we surely didn’t care enough to have an opinion let alone voice one in her house.

  2. This blog is so good, Tex. I’m well informed – well, I think of myself as well informed. Since I hadn’t given a thought to the genesis of the non-profit groups who endorse propositions, maybe I’m not so well informed after all.

    Regardless of what I believe that I know, I always follow your links – there’s always something new or something of which I needed to be reminded.

    How does it feel to be a Window on the World!

    Now about those guns for insane folks…

  3. This is great. I think I’ll put a link on my latest to this. We can’t afford to not vote this year.

    This year will show corporations and foreign interests if buying elections really works or not. I say we show them the futility of their investments.

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Laura Novak, Queerjohn PA. Queerjohn PA said: "Vote if you Care what happens in your Town « The Daily Perpetrator" http://j.mp/aL6fkf […]

  5. Dude Im only 32 and I know first hand voting doesnt matter.

    I remeber when ohio voted on a 19 year old drinking law and then the gov changed it too 21 anyway.

    I remeber when you voted for a guy named Obama who you thought would end the war. And instead we reclassified the troops as “support”

    Its such a shame that you cant understand the chains that bind you.

    Maybe if you ran for office like my dad did back in the 80’s you would understand what your talking about a little more clearer.

    Big money campaigns win ALWAYS, Independents loose…ALWAYS.

    You voted for Obama, guess what your guy won but you still lost.

    I didnt vote because Im a little smarter than thinking that scratching paper in a booth is going to change things.

    • What about all the proposals that directly affect you Chris?

      Local elections are not all about big money, especially school board elections.

      It’s okay if you don’t care, but that doesn’t make you smarter.

      Tex Shelters

      • Yes I can vote if i would like my local taxes to go up 1% 2 years from now as the currency I use looses 20% of its value in 6 months.

        remind me again why this is important ?

        • Chris,

          Yes, you can cherry pick on item and criticize it, but that doesn’t change the fact that some of the proposals I listed have a major impact on people.

          Again, don’t vote. Abdicate the little choice you have left. I listed many positive and negative affects of voting. It’s okay that you ignore them, and I don’t care if you vote or not. But some people will vote and decide what happens in your area, to a certain extent.

          Will voting change the world? No. Will not voting change anything. No.

          Tex Shelters

  6. Moosehammer asks “Who will win?” in the next elections. My answer is that I will. Why? Because I won’t waste my time going to any voting place. Instead, I will sit at home, scratch, fart, eat and blog (the only voting that has the slightest bit of meaning). Do I care what happens in my town. Of course. I just think voting has about as much affect on that as digging a hole in yer backyard and planting a turd there. Can elections be bought? DUH! SCOTUS ruled that they can (not they wouldn’t be anyway, but you need a certain aura of legitimacy there). Why do I think this way? Decades of prior experience. Did I vote for Obama? Yep. DODT is still running (and they even fight to appeal a judge’s ruling that would stop it), Gitmo is still running, Obama declares that John Ashcroft and fellow felons are above the law. Oh sure, I’ll run right out and vote, like a good little droid.

    • Lobo,

      So what about the propositions? What about local elections? Why don’t people who hate Congress as I do fail to realize there are still local issues and proposistions that do make a difference. What about medical marijuana laws? And do you think anti-gay marriage laws don’t affect people?

      You can get a mail in ballot and scrach and sniff all you want and still vote. Try it sometime.

      Tex Shelters

  7. Remember, these anti-gay laws are put on the ballot to drum up voter turnout amongst conservatives.

    This was a factor in 2008. Curious how what we as a nation might do nationally and globally might not draw those voters out, but what two people do in the privacy of their home will.

    I vote. And thank you for honoring this most precious gift of democracy.

    • Thanks Randy,

      I always feel better after voting, and sometimes my candidates win! Better yet, sometimes, they are good!

      Tex Shelters

  8. Of course the local laws affect people Tex. I’m only saying your vote don’t mean goober as to what those laws are gonna be.

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