DANGER: This post is not meant to get folks in a tizzy about whether to vote or not. Do what you want to do, just don’t complain.
In the past I have been a conscientious and informed voter. Now I feel woefully under-informed to make a coherent decision on a variety of candidates and issues.
Let’s start with Propositions.
Last week I was working in a state where voters are told (by a variety of media sources) that if they vote for Proposition “X” they are guaranteeing children will receive a better education, whereas if they vote against Proposition “X” they will also be guaranteeing children will receive a better education. What…
Propositions are often times authored by special interest groups, citizens with an agenda, and politicians with input from corporations and organizations. Which is why they can be purposefully misleading or badly worded. Without spending time digging for the relevant information, I could conceivably be voting to murder all Panda Bears currently in captivity while thinking I am saving a species of whale.
Not voting to murder panda bears
Let’s talk candidates. From the lowest levels of local government to the leader of our country, the main agenda item is smack talk. Seriously talking about the issues (and subsequent proposals/solutions) continues to take a back seat to negative campaigning and sweeping generalizations.
Further, it appears candidates are paying attention to media driven issues versus what people truly care about.
A lose, lose situation…
Sadly, the media only exacerbates the situation by paying more attention to (or even fabricating) that latest conspiracy or digging for dirt rather than asking questions to enlighten us on the candidate’s position on issues that matter to voters.
Finding and consuming usable information with which to base a decision on becomes harder and harder with all the noise. Therefore, to be adequately prepared to vote in a conscientious manner it takes hours upon hours of research. Sadly, I don’t have the time to wade through all the minutia and research every race and every Proposition. And that sucks.
As I am not a person who votes strictly on party lines, in the past, I have gotten around this by not voting on Propositions I have not had the time to research and the same is true for candidates running for a particular office/position.
It is my stance that it is much more egregious to vote on something or for someone you are not familiar with than it is to not vote at all.
There are plenty of people who make a big deal about not voting, but would you rather have someone making uninformed decisions or abstaining from the process?