Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Down-ballot Voting: I'll Just Do It Myself

Why I Voted for Me for Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor

In trying to fulfill my civic duty in voting, which by the way is at the same time a right, privilege, and responsibility, I wanted to do it with honest reflection and sincerity.  That means having to look up information about the races on the ballot for which no one has heard anything.  Pundits call these races "down-ballot" contests.  In other words, you have to keep looking further down the ballot to find them.

I'm not talking about the larger, more obvious races.  I'm talking about the judges and commissioners about whom we never really receive much information.  So the night before the elections, I took it upon myself to look up as much info as I could find on these races.

Online, I found my voter registration info at the State Board of Elections website, complete with a link to my sample ballot.  I had looked up the ballot the prior week, and all of this info was quite easy to obtain.  I began searching for info on the various candidates.  Partisan offices usually have ample information.  Then it was time to find pertinent info on state supreme court justices and state court of appeals judges.  These candidates, although not easy to find, are at least accessible after some digging.  Finally it was time to check up on district court judges.  Not so much helpful info here.

Just when I thought I could finally go to bed, at the bottom of the ballot I noticed a race for an office which I'm sure I have heard about, but apparently never gave much attention.  It was the race for Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor.

Finding info here was laborious.  And might I add that it was difficult.  It was also hard.  Oh, you can find general information about the work involved in soil and water conservation from state and local government websites, and I found one story on the local newspaper site—a story about the difficulty of finding information regarding this race.  But info on the candidates themselves...nothing.  Nada.

Earlier this morning, I joked with my wife that I might submit a write-in vote for myself for Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor.  Later, I rethought my decision, since originally I was going to vote for me as a joke.  I thought to do so might just trivialize the process (do you think?).

However, upon further reflection, I also came to the same conclusion I have for years: that I cannot vote for a candidate about whom I know nothing.  Talk about trivializing the process...try voting for someone you know nothing about, into an office you know nothing about.  Trivialization of the process, no?

So I made the decision then and there.  In voting for downballot offices, maybe I should just step up and serve in that role myself.  I will run for Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor.  And then I voted for me as a write-in candidate.

If you live in my area and supported me in this campaign, I promise to do my best not to let you down.  I will conserve not just the water, but the soil also.  I have the audacity of hope for soil and water, and I will be a maverick.

We need a change.  The time for change is now.  It's time to conserve both soil and water, and to supervise it in various districts.

I'm Mike Williams, and I approved this post.