Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Voting While Clueless; I wish I could say I was alone in doing so. But I'm not

MORITA: She got my vote by default
Josina Morita got my vote Wednesday when I made my appearance at an Early Voting Center to cast my ballot in next week's primary election.

Not that there's some grand, noble reason for me deciding to give her candidacy for a seat on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

IT WAS MORE like hers was one of the few names I recognized when I was looking at the touch screen and trying to decide who was worthy of my support.

And the only reason I recognized it is because I received one of her full-color campaign mailings that touts her support from people such as county board President Toni Preckwinkle, the Sierra Club and the Chicago Federation of Labor -- to name a few endorsements.

Her name jumped out at me. So I put my electronic checkmark next to her name.

In short, I'm guilty of Voting While Clueless -- as in I cast a ballot for someone I'm not thoroughly sure about.

NOW IF ANYONE thinks they can start seriously lambasting me for doing this, I really don't want to hear about it. Because I know I'm not alone. Not in this election cycle. Not in the whole history of people voting.

Once one gets down the ballot past the top few positions, there are all the so-called lesser offices where people just don't seem to pay much attention. There are many long-time incumbents who keep getting re-elected because nobody's watching too closely.

Then, there are all those judicial posts. All the different circuits. I'm sure many people had no idea who they were voting for.

And yes, I believe it is essential to actually fill out a complete ballot. Particularly for the judicial posts.

NOT VOTING FOR anybody doesn't mean nobody gets the post. Besides, at least I didn't resort to what is supposedly the golden rule of political ballots -- having an Irish-sounding name supposedly means people will vote for you instead of anybody else.

Personally, there are times when I deliberately vote against anyone who sounds too stereotypically Irish -- just to spite the knuckleheads who go by that rule of thumb.

Although more realistically, I feel fortunate enough that as a reporter-type person I occasionally cover courtroom activity and have actually heard of some of the judges seeking retention.

So not all of those names were alien to me. Although there were a few where I didn't know anybody -- and will have to confess that I can't tell you now who exactly I voted for to preside over our coutrooms.

IT WOULD BE one of life's sick little jokes if one of these no-names were to someday wind up presiding over a case in which I was somehow involved. Not that I plan on entering a courthouse anytime soon in any capacity other than a reporter.

I'm not alone. I can wish that there was more information readily available about these lower posts.

Most of what the public gets are all those mailings from judicial candidates that are all so predictable and repetitive in their content. A list of bar associations and other legal-sounding groups that supposedly find them "qualified" (while omiting anybody who might have objections).

Along with a photograph of them with a wife/husband and kids, so as to indicate they're a family-type person. Except for one judicial candidate whose mailing depicts a hockey game, and a caption about the need for, "qualified referees in our courtrooms."

THE REALITY OF our electoral process is that these candidates count on us being clueless when we stand in the Voting Booth. They are the types who think of information as ammunition that we could turn out to use against them.

Between that and the fact that so many candidates can knock off their opposition even before the ballots are prepared is why we get such a lackluster government at times.

And for what it's worth, it amazed me to see the combination of obscure political posts whose candidates were running unopposed. A combination that benefits nobody, but themselves.

It sounds like a lot -- nearly 500 candidates seeking 369 different offices in Cook County. But when you think about it, that means most of them are running unopposed. My vote literally wasn't much of a choice.

NO, PICKING BETWEEN Pat Quinn and Tio Hardiman near the top of the ballot didn't make up for all the non-choices I cast my checkmark next to.

And here's hoping that my vote for Morita doesn't come back to bite me in the culo by having her get elected to office and do something stupid.


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