October 30, 2008

The Most Exercising I've Done All Week

My absentee ballot arrived today — I vote in Florida, not Massachusetts — and so I can now proudly say that I voted in The Most Important Election In History EVER #347.

The funny thing about voting absentee is that you're suddenly flung into a world of local politics that ordinarily fly entirely underneath your radar. So, while I was relatively comfortable filling in the oval for the presidential/vice-presidential election, it took me a little longer to work out how I wanted to fill in the other twenty-three.

I'll admit, it can be hard to take seriously referenda on issues that really have no bearing on my everyday life — especially when those issues are in Florida, because a lot of the time I'm not that happy with any of the choices available. In the last election for senator down there, for instance, I couldn't find a single candidate that was anti-gun, pro-choice, or anti-Iraq. (I think I ended up voting for the incumbent because his name was Melquiades and he never loses anyway.) This time, at least, I've been blessed with a state congressional candidate who is all of the above and pro-environment, to boot, but she's running against a nine-term incumbent with approximately six thousand times more funding, so I'm not too hopeful.

Then the ballot begins to get into stuff about judicial district judges, and I really have to fight the urge to fill in ovals at random (I almost voted to retain one guy just because he had the same name as a character from 24). By the time it gets into county stuff I usually figure that anyone who cares enough to run for the Soil and Water Conservation board probably knows what they're doing, but I at least attempt a half-hearted Google of the candidates to make sure they're not on the sex offenders register or anything.

Sometimes, of course, this can be quite entertaining, like this article about the race for county sheriff:
In a time when citizens are demanding tax cuts and revenues are decreasing, Johnson said he is capable of building more public-private partnerships to pay for some of the Sheriff's Office's capital needs. . . .

In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Johnson recalled, he raised private funds to buy a high-tech piece of homeland-security equipment.

"We were able to buy that bomb robot," he said.

Then, hopefully underestimating their readers' vocabulary, the article explains:
Experience — who is better qualified? — is also an issue in the campaign.
An area where, in fact, it seems there are few differences from the presidential race:
Johnson says it's him. . . .

"I know what's it's like to be shot at . . ."

Vaughn, of course, says his experience is broader. . . .

"I also conducted investigations in odometers," Vaughn said.
Anyway, now that I've voted, I can legitimately stop giving a shit about this election campaign — and let me tell you, I feel as liberated as an Iraqi circa 2003. You should all try it!

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