I snapped this picture on the way into work today. This is standard local election procedure. Is this what we want? Is this the best way to accomplish our goal? I don’t know much of anything about these two gentlemen running for Sheriff, but I know that I want us to collectively pick the best person for the job. How to do that?
Anyone running for any office will tell you that these signs are essential, because voters have to know your name. Should name recognition factor into the decision? What about the colors or presentation of the poster? I don’t think either matters. So this not only a waste of resources, it is allowing voters to be biased by this information.
Instead, we should have a set process where the information about the candidates – their ideals and platforms and plans – is presented to the voters in an unbiased manner. That could be anything of our choosing: an insert in the paper, a informational flyer available at city hall or sent to the home, a webpage hosted on the city website. Isn’t that a much better way to do what we are trying to do?
What about freedom of speech? When you go to a city council meeting, or any meeting of importance for that matter, there are rules. These rules are in place so that we can effectively get the job done without bias or distractions. This civilized process does not in any way impinge on freedom of speech. But if you want to be involved in the process, you have to adhere to the rules, so that we can all get things done. Go into a city meeting shouting or insulting people, and you will find yourself being escorted to the door, no matter who you are. Elections should be no different.
But other people will advertise and put up posters, write articles, you can’t stop that. Well again, because we the people get to make the rules, we have every right to demand that candidates for office play by those rules. At this point, we haven’t made any rules. Exactly what those rules are, that’s up to us. No ads within 60 days of an election? No statements about opposing candidate’s character at any time? Violate the rules, forfeit the election. I am not even saying what the rules should be, only that we need to make some. Oh and maybe a few criteria for eligibility beyond just a pulse and a local address.
No one will even know to vote. Ask yourself this: do you really want a high turnout of uneducated voters, or would you rather select a leader based on a smaller number of votes from people who have taken the time to actually learn about the issues and the candidates and their plans? How many times have you looked at a ballot and thought, “I don’t even know who these people are. But I do recognize this name, so I will vote for them.” Is that really the best way to select a leader? Emotion? Name recognition? For certain, if things are running smoothly, people will be less motivated to be involved, and voter turnout will be less. I say great! Let’s make politics boring again!
But if we did this, candidates wouldn’t have to spend money on elections. And if they don’t need money to run, how will we or anyone else be able to BUY their influence? Hmm…. that’s a tough one. Doesn’t look like that process would work anymore, since the only way to give money to them is through their campaign fund. Politicians would have to actually do things for their constituents instead of just campaign…