Monday, October 31, 2016

I voted

I’m now at the age where Michigan says I may always vote by absentee ballot. My city makes that very easy by simply mailing the ballot to me. It has been sitting on my desk for a couple weeks now. Today I filled in the little ovals.

Doing it at home offers a big advantage: I’ve got Google and the internet ready to go. I also have all the races right here – I’m not surprised by a county clerk or school board race. Some of the resources I used:

The Michigan Progressive Voter Guide is published by Between the Lines, Michigan’s LGBT newspaper, with input and endorsements from Equality Michigan (LGBT advocacy), National Organization of Women, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, AFL-CIO, and United Auto Workers. It also shows endorsements from American Conservative Union and Michigan Right to Life as reasons to reject a candidate.

The main page will ask for your zip code. It then presents endorsements for national and state-wide races, then a chart of US House and State House races that are in that zip code. On the left side of those charts you can click on a PDF file which has endorsements for the entire state, with a page per congressional district.

Their endorsements begin, of course, with Clinton/Kaine for president and VP.

Another state-wide race of importance: This guide endorses Ish Ahmed and John Austin for State Board of Education. This one is critical because it was Austin who championed recommendations for how school districts are to treat transgender students. Austin did a good job of making sure everyone was heard, both through a comment website and public testimony. And he heard a lot. He and the rest of the state board approved the guidelines over strong GOP objections. Austin should keep his job for this effort.

The state-wide races include trustees for three public universities and justices for the state supreme court. For all of these races this guide chose the Democrat. The GOP is still not our friends. I was tempted to vote straight party, but I specifically wanted to mark my ballot for Clinton and Austin.

I am disappointed in one aspect of this progressive vote guide. It doesn’t explain its endorsements. I suppose for 14 House seats and the huge number of legislature seats the explanations could have made the guide unwieldy.

I also used endorsements by the Detroit Free Press. They strongly endorsed Clinton and are sharply critical of Donald Trump. I’m glad they agree with me, though my reason for linking to this endorsement is because it links to their other endorsements. And I needed someone’s view of various judges and county races.

I took the paper’s advice for most things, though not for a Trustee for Michigan State University. They endorsed a Republican, even through the candidate “does not fully appreciate the importance of diversity in a school’s student body.” But the paper doesn’t explain why the other candidates are worse.

The county-wide races were easy – for each of the offices of Sheriff, Clerk, Treasurer, Register of Deeds, and Commissioner the Democrat is running unopposed.

The races for local school board and trustees for the local community college were harder. I found a suburban paper with stories about these races, but the stories quoted the candidates spouting platitudes (We must keep our schools strong!) and very little to distinguish the candidates.

I also looked at ballotopedia, but that site had nothing useful. There is a Michigan Voters Guide that allows comparing the views of two candidates – if they bothered to reply. I decided not replying to such sites was a reason to cross a candidate off the list.

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