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The responsible vote


The right to vote allows people to make their own candidate choice based on research, knowledge, preference and whatever else they use to gauge. At least that was what I thought. I find that most people can argue a case for the presidential candidate but don't fare so well when it comes to the local and state candidates. Maybe it's because local candidates are not in the limelight as much. What I find alarming is that I didn't know who all the local candidates were, and I had a hard time getting information about each candidate. OK, I admit I didn't spend too much time to find the information about all the candidates and I wish there was a "Voting for Dummies" book available to make my research simpler. While the responsible thing to do when voting is to learn as much as one can about the candidate, it also seems that many people lean on their friends or guesswork in voting for the local candidates. Recently, I've decided to vote for Anthony Brown, who is running for the 38th District, because I know him through my kid's sports activities and through some conversations I have had with him.I don't know his voting record or his stance on issues, but I know that he is probably the kind of guy that sees things the way I do. In my casual conversations with him, I learned about his background and family. I think it is safe to say that many of his values would mirror mine. I feel comfortable that he is a good man who takes care of his family, and his kids seem to have been brought up well. Although I don't know him that well as a politician, I'm willing to bet that he will turn out just fine. I don't know if it is responsible for me to cast my vote based on my limited knowledge of him, but I am going to. He is running on the Republican ticket, but I would have still voted for him if he were on the Democratic ticket. The root problem in all this is that I'm too lazy to research and study about all the local candidates. Like many people, I don't have the time or the desire to do it. I'll try to catch news reports and talk to friends and maybe get an idea of whom to vote for. I also wish there was a Web site where I could go and learn about all the candidates without bias. In the past elections, I have received e-mails from a friend who knows a lot about local politics. While he never asked us to vote for any certain candidate, he would provide a brief synopsis of the candidates and why he is voting and not voting for them. So, is it OK to vote just because you know the person or because someone asked you to? Will you vote for Anthony Brown because I would like for you to? One of my co-workers had a great analogy for this predicament. He said that if his mother were to run for office, he would have to vote for her, just because she is his mother, despite the fact that he knows she will not be good at it. What is a responsible vote? Or are we being responsible just by voting?


Patrick Wilbur 9 years, 8 months ago

Paul - Project Vote Smart is a good neutral resource to compare candidates (www.votesmart.org). I just completed my questionnaire and it should be available for view in the next few days. In the meantime you can visit my website. You can always contact candidates directly as well. Patrick Wilbur www.patrickwilbur.com

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