The GOP has truly driven home the point that they do not need to elect one of their own on a national stage if they can fully exploit the state and local elections. They've succeeded, and now here we are with a ton of tea partiers infecting our state with crazy legislation designed to restrict women's rights, benefit corporations, and overall make life harder for the average American while they walk away with more money in their pockets.
So, who do we vote for when we make it to the polls? First of all, early ballots are an EXCELLENT idea. If you get your ballot in the mail and can fill it out at the kitchen table, you can take your time, look up candidates and proposals on the internet, maybe even ask someone who is politically involved how they are voting and why. On the spot, in the voting booth, we often forget which way we were going to cast our votes on more obscure issues, even if we were sure of what we were going to do before we left the house. If you haven't registered to vote and signed up for early ballots, please do yourself, and the state in general, a favor and do it now!
And here's a naked man running and then hitting a fence:
I hope that made it more interesting. Anyway, we need to understand what the offices we are voting on DO, as well. For example, I had no idea that voting for a candidate on the County Board of Supervisors would have any real effect in my life. But I do hate Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and the county board of supervisors decides his budget. They could have cut it at any time, but they have decided to give him free reign. So, now I'll be campaigning for Lilia Alvarez in District 3, and I'm hoping someone comes along to challenge Denny Barney for District 1, which is my district. Denny is both an unchallenged Republican and an incumbent who has done nothing to help us choke off Arpaio's cash supply. We've been unable to directly vote out Arpaio thus far, but sometimes the best way to get rid of a weed is to quit watering it instead of vainly trying to pull it out.
I know a lot of people just vote along party lines, and I'll admit to having been guilty of just voting for anyone with a D next to their name in previous elections. In general, the Dems clearly have the rights and interests of the people in mind more than the GOP. However, this does not help you when there are no Democratic candidates, when there are a lot of Democratic candidates, or when party is not noted on the ballot, like in the case of voting for judges.
One of my friends says she just votes for women in these cases. Once again, in general, that's not a terrible idea, but traitors like Nancy Barto, Debbie Lesko and the infamous Jan Brewer have proven that's not always an indicator of a sane politician. If they have a political record, checking out sites like:
can help you decide which candidates are most likely to vote or rule with your rights and interests in mind. Checking out who the opposition is supporting is often helpful, as well as checking corporate support. For example, Wal-Mart has never backed anyone I'd consider worthy of office.
Of course, then there's ALEC. Check out my previous post on ALEC, and you'll see why NO ONE receiving funds from ALEC deserves your vote.
As for proposals, the easiest way to decide whether it would be ethical to support a prop you are unsure of is to check out who is supporting it and who is opposed to the proposition. For example, last time around there was a vote on a proposition regarding the regulations for caging pregnant farm animals. The ASPCA was for it, various factory farms were opposed. Clearly the interests of the animals' welfare lies with the ASPCA, so I cast my vote for it.
We have quite a bit of time before the election rolls around in November, but there are already tons of ads and signs everywhere. Do yourself a favor: stop watching TV! Use the DVR so you can fast forward through the commercials, watch movies and shows via Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime, stick to commercial-free stations like PBS, and rent DVDs instead. These attack ads are not only tiring in their constant exposure, they represent a TON of misinformation, political spin and justification in the name of generating votes. As for the radio, try Pandora and online radio to have all the music and none of the political advertising. NPR is my personal favorite source for news.
After the early ballot form comes out, I'll be posting my own recommendations on a voting "cheat sheet," and the reasons for my choices.
To wrap it up, stop watching/listening to political ads, register for early ballots, and start researching your issues and candidates. This is what you can do for us now. We have win back our state, and it's only going to happen if we all get out and take it back!