Voting is a moral issue. We owe it to ourselves and our government to take the time for thoughtful consideration before we cast our votes. Many people go out to vote for one special candidate or one issue. When they get into the voting booth, where it is too late to ask any questions, they are suddenly confronted with the problem of all these other people and surprise issues they never considered.
With less than two months to go before the next election, it’s time to start the education process for what you will see in November. The purpose of these next few newsletters is to help you understand what you will see on the ballot, but more importantly, how you should think when you see these questions on your ballot.
Please be wary of the technique that many political parties employ to put an emotional issue on the ballot just to drive up the vote tally. Many proposals do not belong on the ballot, but overzealous legislators and civic organizations feel they need to prove their validity by attempting to pass more laws. Bear in mind that we already have plenty of laws to cover nearly every topic and sometimes new proposals can be redundant or make things worse with unintended consequences.
One problem we have in Missouri is that the ballot summary may be written by someone who misses some details. We end up voting for what sounds like a fine idea on the surface, but might be horrible in practice. The majority of voters (but not my readers), are easily manipulated and tend to like the idea of being able to pass laws, but the consequences often don’t come out until later.
Oftentimes, a proposal comes with a story of something it is attempting to correct. If we are going to pass laws based upon stories, let’s also include the story of what could happen if the worst interpretation occurs.