Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My vote

I cast my vote this morning. Lukin Gilliland for Congress. Carlos Uresti for State Senate. Chris Bell for Governor. Barbara Radnofsky for U.S. Senate. Mostly Democrats everywhere else, although I did support a few Republicans like Wallace Jefferson for State Supreme Court because he is from San Antonio (and his only challenger was a Libertarian) and Elizabeth Ames Jones for Railroad Commissioner because her Democratic opponent did not impress me with his response on the League of Women Voters Guide and because she is from San Antonio.
It’s not the first time I’ve voted on an electronic, push-button screen, but it was more disturbing this year realizing that there is no paper trail to verify if the machine recorded my votes correctly after I pushed the little red button that said “Vote.”
There were far too many races to vote on. Too many names on the ballot. After a while it all becomes a jumble. I believe we have too many elections for our own good. At least half of these offices should be appointed rather than elected. That includes all the judicial races and anything else that is not a representative or executive position. I’m as politically savvy as anyone and there is no way I can keep up with all these races. I know the average voter doesn’t have a clue as to who they are voting for in most races. They are either voting based on party identification or name recognition, if they are bothering to vote at all. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods. If you vote based on the party, you are more guaranteed to get someone you agree with (though not always). However, there are many positions where political parties should not matter and experience and integrity should be the guiding principles. If you vote based on name recognition you are essentially rewarding the person who raised the most money and ran the most advertising.
I think we should elect our representatives and executive branch officials and then have them appoint professional people to these other positions. If you don’t like who they are appointing then don’t vote for them. But this would at least remove some of the hyper-partisan, money-driven influence that tends to corrupt our political system.

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