Thursday, October 9, 2008

Election Exercise #1: Reading my Ballot Book

Note: Smarty Pants posts are my routine thoughts on current events.  I call them "smarty pants" because I think we ladies can be smart about politics, economics, and the like.  And there's no better time to get smart than right now!

It finally arrived in the mail last week.  The little blue ballot book.  I'm guessing you know what I'm referring to (although perhaps yours isn't blue).  It's the book that lists all of the amendments, referendums, judge retention recommendations, etc. that will be on your local ballot this election.  It includes the language of each bill, plus a series of "pro" and "con" arguments for the issues.  For me, it is the first place I go to get informed about the ballot.

Since the ballot in my state (Colorado) is one of the longest in state history, I have a lot of reading to do (and intend to do before election day--no cramming this year!).  It is important for me to read through the book and take the time to think about my responses because:

*  in a presidential election year, it is so easy for me to forget that I'm not just voting for the Big Guy.  I'm also voting for new local taxes, state constitutional amendments, judges, local officials, state representatives, and more.
*  I won't have time to figure out what I think about these issues while standing in those little booths (as the people line up impatiently behind me), and I don't want to just arbitrarily check boxes without knowing what they represent.
*  as much as I know that the federal offices are important, I also recognize that some of the local decisions might actually be more influential on my day-to-day life.  Thus, they deserve my attention too.
*  it forces me to step out of the oversimplified-soapbox-and-sound-bite political culture that we have today and actually think more deeply about representative democracy, taxes, local affairs and the like.

And since I haven't cracked the pages yet, I obviously need to get reading!  Talk to you soon!

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