Down the ballot

Talk about intimidating. My sample ballot shows 24 races for elective office and two referenda, altogether twenty-six decisions I must make in my few minutes in the voting booth. By now, I certainly know which bubble I will fill in for president of the United States. But what about all those others?

Seriously, who among us really bothers? Who is willing to invest the time and effort to learn enough about all these candidates to make a truly informed decision? But I do that, every time. Sure, I’d rather be watching a ball game or reading a good book, but I do it. Call me a political nerd, but I believe — I know — that every one of these races is important, and this election in particular is as serious as a heart attack.

You know who they are. Members of one particular political party are responsible for the mess in Washington and in our state house that we deplore and desperately want to change. They have abused their power. We have the power to change this: Vote and mark your ballot all the way down. Make the effort to learn something about these candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, governor, attorney general, agriculture commissioner, insurance commissioner, labor commissioner, secretary of state, treasurer, county commissioner, appeals judge, district judge, state supreme court judge, even soil and water conservation district supervisor, and most certainly the referenda on bonds for schools and affordable housing.

Our vote will choose the people who will be in control of so much of our lives, making decisions that directly affect me, my family and my wallet, and you and yours. You can bet that this matters a lot to me, and I would hope that it matters enough to you that you’ll prepare yourself to vote intelligently and thoroughly.

All the way down the ballot.

Today’s word: principal or principle? Principal means the highest in rank, like the head of a school. It can also mean the most important in a group. Principle means a fundamental truth, law or standard. I am voting against this bill on principle.

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