Truth: I have voted in every major election since I was old enough to vote. Confession: I haven’t known half of the candidates that were on the ballot…
Before you slip into your Judgey McJudgey pants, bear with me. I consider myself to be a reasonably informed person. I walk into every polling place with a chipper step, smiling and thanking the election judges for their service. I get into the booth and click through the president, governor, senators. Well done, me. Then, I glance down at the representatives. By the time I get to judges, soil and water conservation supervisors and county coroners, I am sweating. I have no idea who any of these people are and how in the world I am qualified to choose them. Sometimes I pick them based on how I like their names. Who is the incumbent? Why is someone running against them? Sometimes I break out eenie, meanie, miney, mo. I’m not proud of this, but I try to tell the unvarnished truth here, so there it is.
Not this year though, my friends! Much like studying for an exam, I’ve read the book beforehand. I’ve downloaded a sample ballot for my exact address and county, so I’m ready. Bring it, election of 2016. I’d like to recommend this bit of reconnaissance for any of the rest of you that have known the stall of shame at the polling place, walking out wondering who you ended up voting for. (see myballot or ballotpedia)
The presidential race has been crazy pants, but I have every intention of nailing it with the small races where I have a blank slate that needs to be filled with information. To that end, I’m proud to say I’ve been a part of a disparate group that has organized a school board candidate forum in my community tomorrow night. My vote may matter the most in this small election that will shape the educational opportunities of my children for the next four years. If “all politics are local” and “the school is the heart of any community” then spending a night to learn about your own school board candidates, mayoral candidates, and county commissioners might be a better use of time than listening to another soul- crushing hash on the future of America from popular media outlets.
Make change where you can, yourself. Start studying. Soil and water conservation supervisors, by the way? Thank you. You have helped to keep this cheeky girl’s water safe unbeknownst to me for years. Thanks for mitigating pesticide run-off. I know your names now. I’m ready to vote for you.
Keep sharing moxie.