I’ve been so happy and excited all day today. We’re going to win, win, win! It gives me hope.
I headed out to the polling place about 3pm. It’s about 5 blocks from my house, in a Lutheran church. Usually it is the same batch of retired folks running it as poll workers, and they are hard working but not very efficient. Like I have to wait gritting my teeth while about 4 people dither around trying to find my address on a page, while I can find it in 2 seconds even though I’m reading it upside down and 5 feet away. This time it was different.
There were a lot of younger people volunteering and the sense of energy and excitement was quite intense.
I waited in line for about 5 or 10 minutes, really not bad! We all had a choice of paper or electronic ballots.
The voter guides in California totally rock.
The guide to the county and local Measures prints the full text of the measure, then an “Impartial Analysis”, an argument in favor, a rebuttal to the argument in favor, an argument against, and a rebuttal of the argument against. All the arguments and rebuttals have endorsements. This is SO useful. I read all of them. For local issues I vote with a former mayor and councilwoman and I always vote against this one guy who is a Libertarian and an annoying nut case — either against him directly or against anything he endorses. This year the hot issues in our town were Measure V and W, which address property development, zoning, and open space. You wouldn’t believe how hot under the collar people are about this. The wars over yard signs, wow! V specifically limits development on the wetlands and salt ponds where Cargill’s saltworks were. W is more general and limits development on everything zoned “open space” and the land right next to it. Open space is great but it sounded to me like Cargill is the immediate issue. I think W is going to pass, based on a rough yard sign count. I voted against it anyway. If a real estate development project comes up, we will find out about it in the city and can go to city council meetings and fight it there.
For local elected positions like judges or school board or health board members, I vote for anyone who doesn’t sound insane or weaselly, and I don’t vote for anyone who is alarmist about crime or sounds like they are frothing at the mouth to put more people in prison. I don’t vote for anyone who didn’t publish a platform in the official guide. They should have some respect for voters and give us clear information.
The voting guide for all the state propositions is a big thick booklet. It has the full text of the proposition, a summary, lots of clear bullet points, an impact analysis, the “Impartial analysis” and some more rebuttals and arguments as with local measures. I tend to vote with the California Federation of Teachers; not always, but they match up with what I think often enough that their endorsement can sway me.
When I read the voting guides, I think, “This is what public education is FOR. To teach us how to read this, understand it, weigh different arguments, and make a decision.”
There were lots of children at the polling place. Some of them were there to draw the lines or hit the button so they could feel like they got to have a hand in this election. I didn’t bring Moomin because I wasn’t sure how long the lines would be, but he’s been with me to many other elections. His school elected Obama today in their mock election; in his classroom, 23 out of 26 students voted for Obama.