Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Voted Today!

Since we currently live in Oregon but are still Florida residents, Devin and I both vote absentee. After filling in the little bubbles, I put the ballot into the included "Secrecy Envelope", and yes, it really says that (in letters two inches high), put it in the outer envelope, put $1.00 postage on it (holy cow! Does the post office give the elections office a kick-back on that?) and mailed it. It took me a little over three hours this morning to research the candidates for the various offices. It sounds like a lot, but I strongly believe that if I appreciate the fact that I live in a country where I am the government (and I do), I also have the responsibility to be an informed voter and participate in the election process in the best way I can. In other words, since I am the government, I can only expect the government to be as good as I am. If I vote based on 30-second slur-filled commercials, or vote a straight party ticket, or fill in every third bubble, I really can't expect much. If, on the other hand, I vote to elect officials who I believe (based on research into past voting records) will actually represent me and my positions, I will be much happier with the outcome. So please, vote. I don't even care who you vote for - well, I do, - Go Obama! - but that's not as important as your active, educated participation. To that end, I thought I'd share some websites I've found to be helpful.


The best non-partisan website I've found is:
http://www.votesmart.org/official_state.php
Click on CANDIDATES at the top of the page. I especially like the interest group ratings feature. When you get to the individual candidate, it is in the list of options under the candidate's picture.



Another good site is:
http://www.ontheissues.org/default.htm
One especially interesting feature of this site is this quiz: http://www.speakout.com/VoteMatch/pres2008.asp?quiz=2008 which ranks the various candidates according to how they conform to your priorities based on a short set of questions you answer.


Once you get below the national level, it gets a little harder to find information. A site which is linked to the League of Women Voters, another non-partisan group, is:
http://www.vote411.org/bystate.php

Enter your state and click on ON YOUR BALLOT on top of the page. This takes me to a page where if, for example, I (in Florida) choose "ballot measures", I'm given a brief pro and con of the different proposed state constitutional amendments on the ballot.


There are obviously many more sites with valuable information out there and they vary state by state. I'll leave it to you to find the ones that benefit you the most. One more suggestion is to simply google the name of any local candidates and see what comes up. But please take your responsibility as a citizen of this great nation seriously enough to take a few measly hours every couple years to become an informed voter. I'm off my soap-box now.

3 comments:

Lemon Dingo said...

I am a U.S resident but an Australian citizen so I can't vote in this election but I have to say that I have watched every debate and from an outsider's perspective it really is an extrememly interesting and stimulating process.

Devin said...

I took the voting quiz and it said my choice for president should be Fred Flintstone. Too bad he is not on the ballot.

Devin said...

A friend from work, unexpectedly showed up at Szabos yesterday for the Saints game. As the father of a 1 year old (taking a nap) he was multitasking. Where else but in America can you ... sit at a bar, drinking a beer, watching football, smoking a cigarette and VOTING for president? Oregon has mail-in voting.