Confused Voter

OK, I looked at the voter guide and it’s ridiculous. The ballot is from here to the Moon. How am I supposed to sort out all these attorney generals, judges, county board members, etc and know which ones to vote for? It will take me a shitload of time to research them all.

Am I doing it wrong? Is there a hack? Like a cheat sheet?

On the funny side, we’ll be voting on a proposition to make our county a sanctuary for proud individual gun owners to protect them from any gun control measures adopted by the state at any future occasion.


20 thoughts on “Confused Voter”

  1. OK, I looked at the voter guide and it’s ridiculous. The ballot is from here to the Moon. How am I supposed to sort out all these attorney generals, judges, county board members, etc and know which ones to vote for?

    …Is there a hack? Like a cheat sheet?

    Generally, voting for the best person is the best strategy, and it does require a lot of time. Sadly, this year, the sharp division of the people in the states and the country at large, the best strategy is to vote as though we had a Parliamentary system, and vote strictly by party. Although I am a registered Green Party member, I expect to vote for all democrats, except for one Green Party candidate for a state office.


    1. Democrats have behaved so atrociously in the past few months that this is no longer an option for me. I can only support the candidates Claire McCaskill refers to as “not those crazy Democrats.”

      One day, the party will wake up and throw away the crazy wing. That will be a great moment. But it’s not today.


  2. I’ll also mention another hack, known as the straight party ticket (used by party loyalists which probably doesn’t include you).
    So a person might vote for a particular party’s candidate in any race where they don’t know the candidates and/or vote according to their party’s position on ballot initiatives.
    Again, probably not appealing to you…


  3. My low-info way:

    I read the local paper, which had an election guide and then from there I decided whether the paper’s reasoning made sense to me. The League of Women Voters has a guide as well. I googled the judges to find out if anything horrid happened with them (since we were voting on retention.) Since I live in Florida I got a shitton of mail so I got a lot of flyers, which helps a little bit. For example, if you’re running for Agricultural Commissioner, I don’t want to hear about national political figures.

    With people like local school board members, I went to their websites.

    I also got about ten different text messages reminding/asking for my vote, several cell phone calls (from people running for state office) and lots of political robocalls on my landline.


      1. “Nobody but the DNC reached out” should tell you something, though not everything. (I didn’t vote a straight party ballot.) It helps to have a friend whose views you share and who stays abreast of local politics. That’s why I used to do when I lived in Chicago.

        Check the FB pages of local candidates, any local Indivisible groups, and the parties. Coming up to the election, people sometimes hold “meet the candidate” events in their homes.


      2. “I’m a new voter so nobody but the DNC reached out.”

        Then you’re LUCKY!

        I registered as a Republican the day I drove into Arizona 20 years ago and have voted in every local and state election since then. What are the consequences of being a steady voter?

        For the past month, multiple campaign pamphlets have arrived in my snail-mailbox almost daily, and for the past week my phone has been ringing about every 30 minutes (not an exaggeration), then leaving voice-mail recordings urging me to vote for this or that Republican candidate or inviting me to a rally. It gets to be quite annoying.

        So Nov 6th can’t come quick enough!


          1. If you’re a registered Democrat and your home phone number is publicly listed under your voting name, I’m surprised that you haven’t gotten any political robocalls. (If it’s listed under N’s name, the local Democrats don’t know how to reach you except by mail.)


            1. We don’t have a home phone at all.

              Another question: is one allowed to Google during the vote? Or consult notes? N wants me to decide who to vote on for him, so he’ll need a crib sheet.


              1. “is one allowed to Google during the vote? ”

                Illinois state law doesn’t ban cell phones at voting booths, BUT some counties do, and ALL local election judges (the people watching you while you cast your ballot) have the option of setting a “No phone” policy at their polling place — so the answer is “maybe.” (It is against state law to take a picture of your ballot.)

                Crib notes are allowed, so you can write one up for N.


  4. If there are local politicians you like, you might consider following them or their campaign on Facebook. I make lots of local decisions based on the posts of a county supervisor who takes local government very seriously and works very hard to make our county a better place. She often posts about the other local candidates she supports and I trust that she wouldn’t recommend a total idiot.

    In my state, the state bar association does a poll of attorneys asking them to rate all of the judges up for retention votes on things like knowledge of the law, professional demeanor in court, prompt responses to inquiries, etc. and they publish the results. I think the state level ACLU also does judicial ratings in some places, so also something to look for.


    1. In the part of the state where I (and Clarissa) live, Republicans generally have a lock on the judiciary and routinely appoint other Republicans when seats fall open. The ONLY way to get a Dem judge is by election, so I take the opposite approach. Unless I have reason to believe a particular judge is doing a particularly good job in the role, I vote against retention.


  5. Consistently following local politics makes things much easier, but it took me probably at least a year to really get on top of things. It paid off though; I know who many of the judges are. Specifically one handled an important trial unfairly and two others are part of rather odious political dynasties. I care more about getting rid of them than my congressman.


  6. Check with your local League of Women Voters to see if they ran and taped a candidate forum. They may have it streaming or on local access. Even if not, they or a local paper are likely to have statements collected from the candidates themselves.

    I learned as a kid that even if you don’t know the candidates well, the main thing in the school board, county board, etc. races is to weed out the crazy people. The very best way to do this is find someone you know who follows the school board, and a lawyer who knows something about the judges.


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