I received the BIG ENVELOPE today – the one that is not sexy – the one with a bunch of names, some of which ring a bell – others of which pull a blank – my “test” of citizenship. It’s my ballot for the local primary elections due on AUGUST 30TH and my instinct is to put it aside and pray for the gods to fill it out judiciously for me. (call your Supervisor of Elections if you haven’t received yours – BROWARD COUNTY 954 712 1903, PALM BEACH COUNTY 561 276 1226)
Unless you’re a “party regular” or actually pay attention to the junk mail ads you get, (and how do you know what to believe?) these people are a sea of faces doing important jobs – but are nonetheless mostly invisible to the majority of us . And me – a political junkie – still faced with the dilemma of executing good choices.
Unless you make primary voting the focus of your life – or you are an integral part of the inner circle of the party of your choice, you will be hard pressed to find the resources required to make informed decisions. You can tap a friend or acquaintance – a person “who knows,” – whose judgment is in alignment with your own, and copy-cat his or her choices, or follow the editorial lead of a newspaper of choice, (becoming very vigilant in spotting the exact day when their recommendations appear) or google individual names and make judgments based on their experience, background and the position on issues of each candidate individually – (and that’ll cut down on your Olympic-Gazing for sure) or you can go down the list, guessing and marking names as you used to do with multiple choice tests in school.
WWW.Vote411.org is a good source sponsored by the non partisan League of Women Voters, providing information on candidates and the election process. In preparation for the Aug. 30 primary, League has contacted each local candidate requesting that they complete questionnaires with biographical information and their positions on issues. Voters who go to vote411.org enter their address and then see only candidates who will be on their ballot. They can compare candidate information and even print out a ballot with their choices.
So while the kids are stocking up on their school supplies, getting new “outfits” and reconnecting with friends they haven’t seen all summer, it would be a good idea for YOU to go to VOTING SCHOOL this month and decide who you want for STATE ATTORNEY, STATE SENATOR for your district (do you even KNOW which district you are in ???) CIRCUIT JUDGE for your judicial circuit – there are several “groups” – and on several ballots, COUNTY COURT Judges, School Board members, office of SHERIFF, PROPERTY APPRAISER, SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS, AMENDMENTS to the Florida Constitution, and questions on local ordinances.
Boring? It may not be fun, folks – but it is the bedrock of our democracy and what is the ultimate “greatness” of our country. And if we don’t make it our business to become informed about our local governance then we will no longer have legitimate “griping rights.” Granted — it’s not as exciting at national politics but this is where it all begins. folks.