Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Don't just vote—Think!

Well, voting day is finally here, for which my sanity is profoundly grateful. (You know you're hearing way too many political ads when you start having dreams about not being able to escape political ads.) And I've done my civic duty and gone out and voted. I feel virtuous about it, because not only did I go vote, but I spent time studying my ballot before I went in.

Doing a little research is important. Sure, by now most people should have an idea of who they're voting for at the top of the ticket, and it's not hard to "Vote only for 18" when there are 18 judges on the ballot, but what about all those lesser-known races? Local supervisors and university regents and circuit court judges and township library trustees? (Library trustees!! Very important, I need the library for my work!)

The internet is a great tool. If you go to the website of your local newspaper, they'll have a list of their endorsements. You can read what they say about each candidate; they often have articles about the candidates as well, with interviews. Often they have voter guides with responses from the candidates themselves. If they don't, you can always search the League of Women Voters website for their candidate questionnaires.

But what about that all-important library trustee race? The LWV didn't have a questionnaire for them, nor did the big city newspaper. Well, I had to do a little more research. First, I googled "Canton township library trustee" and discovered that four of the eight candidates were incumbents. I think they've been doing a good job, so that made it easy to pick them. There were four other candidates for the two remaining positions, so I needed to do a little more digging. I added one of the candidate's names to my google search, and discovered that two of the four had actually attended a library board meeting in the past six months. Those same two also responded to the hometown newspaper's questionnaire, while the other two didn't bother. I read what they said to make sure they weren't nutcases, and voila! Last two picks made.

I consider the hour or so I spend doing this research a wise investment; and hopefully it pays off. May your time in the voting booth pay off as well.

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