As I sat here researching Seattle mayoral candidates…


I realized the majority of people won’t even bother to vote in this primary, let alone do research to make an educated choice.

Something is wrong here :\

Comments

  1. maxdwolf says

    I used to be one of those who always voted in every election, large or small. I rolled my eyes who made a conscious decision not to vote. But I have come to the slow realization (rather embarrassing considering all the classes in probability I’ve taken) that voting is, by its nature, an altruistic act, a very minuscule one. Given the shit I’m in right now, I find it harder to motivate myself to contribute. Add to that my growing discontent w. the Democratic party and dissatisfaction w. the alternatives, I have new found sympathy for those who opt out.

  2. says

    I wasn’t trying to blame the people who don’t vote. I was just reflecting on how the whole system is so broken, for many of the reasons you listed.

  3. says

    Your vote will never have more power than in an uneven year, local primary. Now that I’ve moved out of the city, it’s worth even more.

  4. Sean Boyd says

    Especially when noting that the entire state of Washington votes via absentee ballot, and provides many locations for dropping off said ballots without requiring postage. Pierce County (hi from Tacoma!) had something close to 80 percent turnout last November. For an election conducted entirely from the comfort of one’s own home. And I think that’s considered good.

    Anyhow, it’s really nice to see new posts at Blag Hag!

  5. says

    I skipped local elections, I’ve been in Missouri less than a year and I’ve got no freaking clue how local governance works here. I really should look that up. We’ve got the county, the city, we’re outside city limits but our address still in the city, it’s confusing. Not like Connecticut, where it’s state, municipality, and barring a handful of exceptions, that’s it. Though I suppose it could get confusing if you moved from a town(more or less direct democracy) to a city(representative democracy) or vice versa.

    Out here I wouldn’t even understand the job titles on the local ballot. I really need to learn about this stuff.

  6. Pteryxx says

    Best resource I’ve found so far is Rock the Vote’s list of Secretary of State offices, state by state. Verify your voter registration, find your polling place, details of upcoming elections, all that.

    http://www.rockthevote.com/election-center/contact-sos/

    after five minutes of nosing about Missouri’s rather outdated site, I found a list of upcoming elections, including the August 6 primary:

    http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/goVoteMissouri/elections.aspx

    Good luck.

  7. says

    Pteryxx- Those things aren’t my issues. My issue is I have no clue how counties that are more than lines on a map work, and I’ve got no idea what the political implications of living outside city limits are. These are things that do not exist in Connecticut. I’m registered to vote, and did vote back in November for our federal senator and our governor.

    About all I know is that our policing is from the county sheriff, not the city police. But apparently the city does cover us for a few things, just not sure what.

  8. MrFancyPants says

    You know, whatever it matters, we do have an obligation to vote. Jen makes a good point. Certainly local votes matter, and especially primary votes. Be as cynical as you want to be, but really, take part in your community. Maybe the federal government is out of control, but you have a real voice in your local government. Thanks for reminding me, Jen, and I’m really glad to see you blogging again :)

  9. minxatlarge says

    Is there a candidate who is a fanatic for rapid transit and urban planning (reads Met link). There is, yippee! As an escapee from the DC metro area, I can tell you that your commute can be the dominant factor in your quality of life.

    Hmm. More clarification on rapid transit from Knute Berger: http://www.geekwire.com/2013/running-mayor-seattle-microsoft/

    “Steinbrueck too criticized the lack of high-capacity mass transit lanes on the bridge and urged faster adoption of regional mass transit. McGinn said he got the Washington State Department of Transportation to modify the plan so the bridge could potentially carry light rail in the future.”

    Now what?

    Also, have any of the candidates noticed that the port facilities (and half of downtown) could be underwater in ten years?

  10. gussnarp says

    I have always been a pretty big follower of politics, but honestly I’m utterly despondent about it now, on all levels. We’ve got mayoral elections coming up here, and funnily enough, one of the candidates has apparently bought ad space from the network that serves up ads on FTB, so I’m constantly bombarded by ads attacking his opponent.

    But honestly, I don’t really know who to vote for, or even much care. Like most industrial belt cities, a Democrat will win. But the question is whether it will be the more liberal one, or the centrist. All anyone wants to talk about is street cars and parking leases, both done deals, based on who has backed them. Apparently both are bad and evil so I should vote for the guy who advertises here….

    And I’m ambivalent about them based on street cars and parking leases. Whatever my opinion of those items, they have little bearing on future governance. But no one’s talking about the future. I don’t even know if there’s any real difference between them. It would be nice if one of them stepped forward with a real plan for the city’s future, but there’s nothing. I don’t know how much is their fault, and how much the media’s, but this is one case where I really feel like it should be about the future, not the past. I’m feeling very disengaged for a guy who’s voted in every possible election since his 18th birthday and worked for and donated to campaigns.

    I suppose I could vote for one of the other candidates, but they’re both completely unhinged from reality, so…

  11. says

    I am reminded of a post Amanda Marcotte has on Pandagon from earlier this week. She talks about how the Christian right has gained so much power because they participate in primaries. So then when it comes to the general elections,

    at least in red states, a strong majority of white people automatically vote for the Republican, often with no idea how bad the politician they voted for really is. They vote Republican because being “conservative” is their identity as white people in red states, even if their understanding of that is no deeper than “guns are good and liberals are bad”.

    In short, voting in primaries is important. And, just think about it, when there are fewer people voting, your vote has more power because your vote will be a larger percentage of the total than in the general election.

  12. minxatlarge says

    Yeah, feeling better this morning: The Stranger has announced its endorsements: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/the-stranger-election-control-board-endorsements/Content?oid=17269982

    “Yeah, sure, we know. It’s summer. It’s sunny. You’ve got better things to do than waste five minutes and a postage stamp voting in some stupid, pointless primary. In this election, the top two candidates from each race will continue to the November ballot, and in most races, we already know who they will be.

    But you know what happens when you don’t vote? Mayor Mike Fucking McGinn!

    Four years ago, some car-hating, pot-smoking cocksuckers at a foulmouthed alt-weekly thought it would be funny to endorse a fat bike-riding sociopath for Seattle mayor, and because you didn’t vote, he won! The result: the postapocalyptic nightmare we now all live in—something along the lines of Mad Max, but with fewer cars.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. Together, we can toss out these idiot politicians those idiot voters put into office. Just fill out your ballot—exactly as we advise below—and Seattle will enjoy a brighter, slightly less dystopian tomorrow.”

    Also YEA! THE ANSWER TO MY BURNING QUESTION: “Light Rail and Transportation: McGinn has accelerated transit planning for light rail to reach Ballard, so that when voters consider another light-rail measure, hopefully in 2016, Seattle will likely have a nearly shovel-ready project. And finally, McGinn has also pledged to fully fund the city’s bicycle plan and has begun building protected bicycle lanes along key routes. No other candidate is as ambitious or specific in transit planning.”

    Seriously, the #1 factor in determining quality-of-life in urban environments is Commute Experience. One of the reasons I fled DC was that my commute time had grown from 30 min to 90 min.

  13. Vicki says

    The hard part is finding information on anything *else* on the primary ballot. I moved to the East Side from the other coast back in April. There isn’t a lot of coverage of Bellevue politics, and a lot of what I found online on the County Executive race was from 2009.

    I did eventually discover that one of the city council candidates, who provided exactly no information for the voter guide, is an incumbent. On medical leave of absence from his council seat. I persevered that far mostly because I want to vote yes on the parks levy, and if I’m spending a stamp anyway I might as well look at the other races. Also, given my upbringing,I tend to vote in off-year primaries when there’s nothing on the ballot but civil court judgeships. (Doing so guarantees you will get a huge pile of campaign flyers in every election thereafter.)

  14. kaleberg says

    There is definitely a dearth of coverage of minor candidates. This makes these minor elections are a great opportunity for mischief. Look at all those school boards that set up rules against teaching about gravity and using door knobs to open doors. Only a handful of people voted, and they had to rely on nearly zero information, not even a one paragraph statement from each candidate. Fortunately, there is Facebook. We just voted against a school board candidate – that was the only election on the ballot – who had “liked” the Tea Party. Facebook, it’s not just for drunken party photos anymore.

  15. thesandiseattle says

    I voted McGinn. But only cuz he’s already in, the evil you know and all that. Not that McGinn is evil exactly.

  16. great1american1satan says

    Just under the wire! My household’s ballots will be postmarked on the 6th. Three more votes for Kshama Sawant, aw yiss! We were split on the mayoral – two of us went McGinn, one Murray.

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