Monday, October 6, 2008


...and pick up my slack, because I wasn't fully ready (spoiled by years of Oregon's ingenious and pragmatic ballot-by-mail system! Why doesn't every state do this?) (P.S., Amanda, I really needed your Deep Throat voter guide--consider branching out from Oregon.)

Today I registered and cast my ballot, under Ohio's relatively new early voting system. Because I registered five minutes before voting, I think what I received was a provisional ballot--but any anxiety about my ballot being somehow mishandled or not counted is balanced by relief that I didn't have to use one of those suspect Diebold touch-screen voting machines. They are not the big sturdy steel robots I had envisioned; they looked like Leapfrog learning pads on crutches. Give me a ballpoint and a paper ballot any day.

Already there was a line out the door when I arrived. It had grown down the block when I left. Even though we were standing in a line snaking through a gray-carpeted fluorescent-lit office, the excitement was palpable. A young election official told us happily that already in six days of early voting, they had been visited by 2100 people.

The total for the entire last presidential election was 2000.

My only regret, and it's a real pang, like it makes my stomach kind of hurt, is that I came without knowing anything about the ballot measures and the judges up for election to the Ohio Supreme Court. I did my best to parse the cagily neutral language and discern what the ballot measures were really about, and I voted on those--correctly, it now turns out. Whew.

But the judges? I didn't want to risk voting for the wrong one, so I swallowed it and voted for none.

Ohio's Supreme Court, it turns out, is currently 100% Republican. The New York Times ran a huge article two years ago about how the judges are bought and paid for. And in case of a tight vote count in Ohio, this big important swing state? Guess who decides.

So here's who I wish I had voted for, if I had known.

  • Kucinich-endorsed Peter Sikora (vs. conservative anti-choice incumbent Evelyn Stratton; very important)
  • Progressive Joseph Russo (vs. moderate Republican incumbent Maureen O'Connor; not as dire)
  • YES on Issue 1 (sets earlier deadlines to file ballot measures)
  • YES on Issue 2 (environmental protection and conservation)
  • NO on Issue 3 (which attempts to privatize groundwater)
  • There is no Issue 4.
  • YES on Issue 5 (cracks down on predatory cash-advance payday loans)
  • NO on Issue 6 (allows a casino to go up in Wilmington, OH, promising lots of tax revenue for the state--but the catch is that if anyone else builds a casino in Ohio, ever, this one's taxes must be dropped lower than the new one's. So if, say, a Native American casino is built? No taxes for either.)

Detailed information on the various 'pediae out there: Ohio Supreme Court elections detailed on Judgepedia, ballot measures explained on Ballotpedia.


Steve said...

It's great that you are urging your readers to vote yes on issue 5! The average voter, myself included, is going to have a tough time understanding what exactly a Yes or No vote does on issue 5! The payday lenders have spent millions to confuse and deliberately mislead voters (their ads don't even mention "payday lending"). The payday lending industry needs to be reformed and a YES vote is the only way to do that. Voting yes on issue 5 will lower interest rates and end the debt trap for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans. So, I'll be voting YES on Issue 5!

AnnMarie said...

it is indeed a freezing, horrible moment when one enters that ballot booth and realizes a lack of knowledge on an issue, measure, local politician. just goes to show that we need more more more voter information, real information.

good work.

Shauna said...

Excellent! Excellent blog! Just ran across you digging up info on that sneaky issue 3. Welcome to Ohio!