Friday, November 03, 2006

How To Vote On Election Day

It is interesting how people have their own methods of voting for or against a political candidate. Many are die-hard Republicans or Democrats who just cannot see past the support buttons of their candidate. Too many of them will vote for their party, even if the candidate is not the best person for the job. This happens too many times, especially with the political climate we have today.

Others feel that voting an incumbent out is the best policy, since it allows new faces and fresh ideas to enter the political position, such as congressman or governor. Interesting idea and maybe some truth to it if the incumbent is doing a bad job, however, this is a poor knee-jerk reaction to voting. Without proper research, that voter might ignorantly vote a good person out of office.

As idiotic and sad as this sounds, another popular method of voting for a candidate is if the voter has something in common with the candidate, such as being in the same branch of military or even having the same type of operation. The operation example sounds silly, doesn’t it? Sadly, it has been known to happen.

So, what is the best way to choose our next political leaders? Certainly not by the sound bytes they give us on the nightly news or their vicious attacks on their opponents. And their party supporters are no help in the matter either, as they can be more vicious then the candidates themselves.

Realistically, both of the major parties have their faults and have done some great good as well. However, neither one would ever admit it, either about themselves of their faults or the good that the “enemy" has done. Both have been found with their hands in the cookie jar one too many times and both, more than often, will vote for a bill if there is something in it for them. And these are hard-truths that need to be shoved down the throats of die-hard party voters and supporters.

Despite that, one of the best ways is to actually research the people running for office and keeping up with their records.

Just about every candidate has a Web site now, and if not a quick call to their campaign headquarters can provide you with their goals and biased-records. (Let’s face it, no candidate is going to air out his or her dirty laundry for the public. That’s the job of their opponents.) But looking at their goals and how they want to serve their districts will certainly help you gain a better perspective of them.

Reading your local newspaper is a great way to keep up on their past voting records on certain issues that you find important. Looking at the positives and negatives of all the candidates running is far better than listening to their 30-second political ads. And sometimes it does not hurt to listen to some of the mudslinging that is heard in the ads, because that can be used to look into the accusations and determine if they are true or not.

Of course, a great, unbiased newspaper would do that for you, with a great feature spread on all the candidates, regardless of the political party. I believe that all news organizations, especially newspapers, should give the good and the bad of all the people who are running, whether they are Republicans, Democrats, Green Party, Independent, etc., and allow the readers/viewers to make the best choices themselves. Sadly, this is not always the case. So, voters should do it themselves.

Sounds like a lot of work? It is, yet it is the best way to ensure that the right person is elected into office. The ignorant and bias voter does just as much harm, if not more, to their community and nation as a corrupted, unqualified politician.

And after voting on Election Day and as you leave the booth, say what I always say: “I voted today and may God have mercy on my soul.”