Open Thread: Your Friendly Neighborhood Voting Guide

[Content Note: Rape]

Today I went to the local community center where the early voting is held and cast my ballot. (Or, possibly, my ovaries did. Or maybe not.)

Because I'm bad with linking names with details -- Bob Johnson supports this, but John Bobson supports that -- I usually vote straight-ticket in favor of the parties who piss me off the least. Here is my voting guide, which you are all welcome to snag while it's hot:
  1. Vote Democrat. 
  2. If no Democrat option, vote Green. 
  3. If no Democrat or Green option, vote for whichever Republican / Libertarian option sounds like a woman or a person of color.
  4. If no Democrat or Green option, and no Republican / Libertarian candidate with name that sounds like a woman or person of color, skip while silently cursing to self.

That last option, Number 4, is frustratingly common in Texas -- or at least in my area of Texas.

Voting makes me sad. I only very rarely feel that I go to vote for someone, and even when I did feel that way, I went with the knowledge that my state is so red that my vote only barely matters. Furthermore, the people I end up casting my ballot for -- if they do win -- more often than not disappoint me for failing to be as liberal as I want and need them to be. In the year 2012, we have honest-to-god politicians still suggesting that babies from rape is God's way of telling a special lady that she's special. I don't even know how to express my contempt that I live in a country where saying such a thing doesn't immediately guarantee an end to one's political career. And yet here we are.

I voted today. But I'm not happy about it. 


redsixwing said...

I am going to do a whole bunch of nose-holding in the ballot box this year (and still vote for the least awful option, because we have got some seriously awful options and I want them gone, gone gone).

I will be voting on the 6th, and I'll fuss and complain about it if Toolbox Jerkface gets back into office, because I sent him a few letters complaining that his Toolbox Jerkface policies are counterproductive and arguing that he should maybe quit being such a jerkface, and in reply I got a whole bunch of "I'm going to do whatever because I represent my constituents" nonsense, and also on his mailing list forever.

Ugh. =(

EllieMurasaki said...

Whereas I am going 'vote Green, if no Green then vote Democrat unless it is the insurance commissioner race how the hell did the incumbent survive the primary, if no Democrat then skip the race'. The two races I am skipping are insurance commissioner and state senate. State senate, both candidates are white men, and the Independent Party candidate's website assures me that his voting record will be as abysmal as the Republican incumbent's. Insurance commissioner, only female candidate is the incumbent, and while the Republicans are running a black guy, he opposed HB 392. HB 392 is the one that would have, had it passed (it got stricken less than two weeks after introduction), instituted state single-payer health care.

I mean, I like your third option, but.

Brin Bellway said...

I only voted for president, skipping the people running to represent New Jersey* in Congress because I had no idea who they were. I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps I should've voted party. *shrug*

(But hey, look on the bright side: I voted for president! First time ever! Whee!)

*Since my last American dwelling was in Camden County, I am considered a resident of Camden County for voting purposes.

Evan said...

I'm voting absentee this year, so I get to fill out my ballot in front of the computer with my compiled notes on all the John Bobson's and Bob Johnson's. Otherwise, I don't know how I could keep them straight either.

Next year, I'll be checking ahead of time whether the voting booths in my new precinct (I'm planning to move before then) let me take in notes. If so, I'll certainly plan to do it.

Frenchroast said...

I voted yesterday, and your voting guide is essentially the same as mine. Which, given I live in a more rural part of Georgia, sadly meant that I skipped 7 or 8 races, because they had no one running against the Republican incumbent. Well, one had a Republican incumbent and two other republicans running against him, one of whom sent a flyer to our mailbox with more than one glaring typo on it. I chose the non-incumbent, non-typo guy.

Arresi said...

I'm really sorry for you guys. I mean, I don't agree with my Senators on everything, but I'm fairly happy with them, and will be comfortable voting for my (female, Democrat) Senator again this year, and I'm positively looking forward to the House race in my district - the Democratic candidate is the nephew of the extremely well-respected incumbent, who was a friend of my family's, so I'm hopeful that he'll win. Meanwhile, running against him as a Non-Party candidate is a a member of the local Board of Education, who is an ignorant fool, who I have every confidence will lose, and therefore be out of any office whatsoever. (Ignorant fool is not said lightly, incidentally. One of his public statements on his education policy was based on a misquote of the Bible - I say this as an atheist, who has never actually read the entire Bible, and still knew that he was misquoting. A recent statement on immigration policy, which was misspelled, demonstrated that he is also unfamiliar with the Constitution. The prospect of having him out of public office makes me exceptionally happy.) The rest are tolerable, and include several women and minorities. I'm not sure why the Taxpayer Party's got so many candidates running, but there's about as many Greens, so.

As for my voter guide: I get e-mails/newsletters from some of the the candidates, and I've met a few others. I'll go to a debate or speech occasionally. That settles some of it. For presidential races, there's plenty of news coverage, but I'll look up the candidates at the AAAS and as well. Lower level candidates gets checked out on and the LWV guide at Anyone who didn't post responses to vote411 is automatically disqualified. If that means I leave a blank, fine. If they can't be bothered to respond to questions about their position, I can't be bothered to vote for 'em. (And if they're that biased against women or people who might be liberals, then I want nothing to do with them.) For proposals, I read the text on ballotpedia and look for news stories if I need clarification. The result is usually Dem with a random Green somewhere in education.

Silver Adept said...

I'd advise against Politifact on anything that requires credibility, since they have a history of analyzing a blatant lie and determining it to have some amount of truth (will furnish references on request, assuming MaddowBlog has them, because otherwise, it's video links, and I'm not real fond of those) for this cycle.

The tickets here in Pacific Liberalland are mostly one Democrat, one Republican, because the primary system basically ensures this. So no downballot Green, Libertarian, or other parties to vote for. Although I think my tendency would be to vote more Greens/liberal liberals over Democrats where possible, because the ostensibly liberal party is cosily centre-right.

It is, however, a reasonably good guide for those in battleground states or places where the votes will matter. And especially so for women.

graylor said...

My ovaries voted about the way yours did. No greens available and some DINOs, but you work with what you've got. I'm pretty sure my county will go red, but... it will be a little more purple this year, if things I've been hearing from some of my (male--all ur base r belong to us) relatives add up.

AnonVoter said...

Finally got my ballot sorted out. Green for President (Jill Stein 2012!), Democrat for almost everything else, and Libertarian for US Senate seat (the Republican is anti-choice even in cases of rape/incest, and is also anti-healthcare, ant-environmental regulations, etc. The Democrat is anti-choice except for rape/incest, and was behind SOPA. The Libertarian has no platform whatsoever besides grandiose constitutional amendments about corporations not being people, but frankly, that's the best of the 3).

Arresi said...

I generally just read the analysis, and treat the grades as Pass-Fail, since I had noticed they were being overly generous in some of their interpretations. Thanks for mentioning that, since I failed to note it. While I'd probably score things differently, I also know that I tend to be judgmental, harsh, and prone to us v. them behavior, and I've caught people who were supposedly on my side lying to make opponents look worse frequently enough to appreciate having potentially mitigating details included, even if I don't think the details make that much of a difference.

Or were you saying that they're falsifying information in their analysis (as opposed to improperly weighting information)? Because if so, I had not heard anything about that.

I hear you on the video blogs, btw. I have a horrible time following arguments by ear - not helped by a near inability to interpret numbers by ear. I wish more people included transcripts, at least of relevant sections.

Niala Wesley said...

I just REALLY want a vegan in office.

There is enough food in the world that there should not be a single person starving. Most of the grains go to feed factory farm animals that will be brutally slaughtered. It makes more sense to directly eat the grains. It feeds more and uses less resources. And it is much healthier. The meat industry is the number one cause of the destruction of the rainforest, global warming, pollution, and the rapid decline in health (advanced puberty, cancer, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, respiratory problems, strokes, advanced decay, seizures, neurological conditions).

It is really frustrating to live in a society in which only 10% of the population is not contributing to the torture and slaughter of BILLIONS of sentient beings. It breaks my heart and fills me with rage.

I've never been happy with the Democratic or Republican party. I am pro-life but pro-gay marriage. I am pagan but supported the War on Terror (my reasons included being outraged by the Sharia laws, honor killings, the way that rape survivors are treated, the forced covering of 99% of the body because it might "entice the men", etc, when little girls are forced to go back into a burning school building because their hair wasn't covered something needs to change!) as a valient if ultimately unsuccessful and ill-handled attempt at combatting profound injustices.

Ana Mardoll said...

TW: War, Rape

We have institutionalized misogyny HERE. It's deeply Othering to act like we don't, but They do, especially by just invoking the word "sharia". It's more complicated than that, by far.

Additionally: Before we start declaring war on other countries and killing large amounts of innocent people as collateral damage, I think we should consider that doing so is tremendously damaging to the people we're supposedly trying to help.

TW: Food Allergies

You are welcome to eat how you please, but recognize while you are here that your body is not a universal representation of every body. I, and probably some others here, actually would starve on a vegan diet, and you are invisibling me by saying that's just not possible.

A major part of the feminism here is speaking "for me, not for thee", so to speak. You may need to read up on the comment policy. Thank you.

Silver Adept said...

@Arresi - I was talking about inappropriate weighting instead of falsifying data, that's all. Politifact tends to devolve toward believing what people say or "he said, she said", rather than evaluating on the merits of what was actually said or done.

Niala Wesley said...

I was not trying to imply that misogyny doesn't exist in the US. It clearly does. I just believe that even with all of the problems that we have with true equality here, we still have a lot more basic rights. I definitely didn't mean it to sound like a "the US rules!" statement, if that is what it sounded like. I was not trying to throw around the word "sharia." I do understand that it is an incredibly complicated issue. I read extensively on the women's rights (or lack thereof) in those countries and most of it is written by the women in and/or from those countries. Their stories, experiences, and first hand knowledge.

By "War on Terror" I didn't mean going to war against other countries. I meant the misognystic individuals that are hurting the people in those countries. I'm definitely not talking about westernizing anything or imposing our belief systems onto other cultures. As a bisexual pagan that grew up with devout Christian parents I understand quite well what that would be like. But I do see a huge difference between culture and abuse and believe that the women in those countries did need more allies and more people willing to go to bat for them. I did say in my previous post that the war was mishandled and that what was accomplished in comparison to what the end result entailed are very different.

I completely understand about food allgeries. One of my nephews has a blood disorder that prevents him from eating certain vegetables (which is really messed up since he likes veggies way more than I do). I wasn't going on what is healthiest for my body but on the unhealthiness of the meat and dairy industry (the chemicals given to the animals, the unhealthy conditions of factory farms and the animals in them, etc). I don't think it's as simple as "don't eat meat and you'll be healthy!" I just do not believe that the meat industry helps with health. There are a lot of factors outside of the meat/dairy industry that contribute to ill health; processed foods, pesticides, how horrible our FDA seems to be (they check a very tiny portion of the food and greenlight so many cancerous items), etc. Someone could be vegan for 20 years and end up extremely unhealthy if they aren't checking to see what it is exactly that they are putting into their body. It's my personal opinion that our country sucks at keeping unsafe food items out of stores. You read some unpronounceable word, look it up online, and find out that it's been on record for years as causing severe physical or neurological illnesses and disorders.

May I ask, which food allergies do you have?

EdinburghAAAAAAAAAGH said...

Well, we don't have any elections coming up just yet, but Nadine Dorries (nobody's favourite Conservative MP) has got herself a ninety-minute debate in the House of Commons on lowering the legal abortion limit in the UK to 20 weeks. On Hallowe'en. How spooktacularly appropriate.

Last time she tried something like this her motion actually passed because virtually no one had bothered to show up except for the handful of MPs who supported her.

I'd really, really like as many people as possible to write to their MPs before Wednesday to ask them to attend the debate and speak against the misinformation Dorries will be promoting, or if they can't spare the time to do that, at least to show up and vote against it.

More information here.

Rakka said...

It's the day of municipal elections in Finland. I voted in advance due to being out of town today. I'm not fully happy with this though - I only recently moved into the city I live in and haven't paid much attention to the politics, and the time I was planning to use for comparing the possible candidates I had a bout of flu and couldn't do much that required higher brain activity. And doing the voting advice applications may help a bit but they're really not that helpful if you can't also check out the candidates' opinions in a larger scale... and the best one didn't have any links to the candidates' websites. (Worst ones ask about the candidates's hobbies or won't bother telling what party they are in. The fuck?) Meh. So I just picked the right party and hope that people who have done their homework ensure that the right person(s) get in. Proportional representation has its faults but at least it makes being stupid easy.

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