How to Vote This November

I don’t typically post about politics anymore. I’m tired of it, you’re tired of it, we’re all tired of it. Regardless, the Professor and I got our absentee ballots yesterday and all I can think about is that saying that those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Do we really want a do over? I do not.

So on the chance I can influence you, this year I’m making an exception: I’m telling you how I’d like you to vote this November. If you don’t agree, ok. You’re big boys and girls with plenty of opinions, but this is my blog. If you don’t like it, swipe left. If, however, you’re a rational person, unafraid of a dissenting opinion, read on.

My ballot’s filled out and in my mailbox. I didn’t vote purely Republican, I didn’t vote purely Democratic, or purely Independent. I voted according to some guiding principles in every local, state, and federal race. I want you to do likewise.

First, I took what I know about each candidate into account. I crossed off dishonest, power-hungry charlatans without a further thought (yes, you know who you are – I didn’t vote for you, scoundrel). I also immediately crossed off those who profess Christianity but talk (and act) like the Devil incarnate. You may not know better. I certainly do.

Those I considered included candidates motivated by demonstrated dedication to public service, integrity, and the rule of law. Those open to the possibility that they might not have all the answers. Will they be good stewards of constituents’ resources and listen to everybody? Are they deliberative AND able to do what has to be done when the question is called (got guts)? Are they respectful and compassionate? If so, I probably voted for them.

But how is a voter supposed to know in every instance when some candidates smile like puppies and lie like dogs? There were a few other considerations.

Second, I took into account what I know about each candidate’s ability to stand apart from their friends, neighbors, and party and do the right thing (for those of you wondering what that is, Google “the golden rule“). Sometimes that only works with an incumbent who has a public track record and lots of sound bites floating around. Incumbents got extra credit for taking hard positions and standing against their party when necessary. Those of you who only see party and those of you who twist every which way with the wind? I didn’t vote for you either.

But with a new candidate, it can be impossible to judge. So I looked at something else too.

Third, I took experience into account. I wanted to know that a candidate either has a good sense of what it takes to govern or is willing to do the work to get up to speed. I wanted to know that they will burn the midnight oil to get the people’s work done. That they do their own homework and don’t look to only advisors to inform their votes. I also looked at their political affiliations inside (and outside of their parties). I checked out their fund raising reports AND I checked the Secretary of State’s donation records. Who have they given money to?

Finally, I looked at a critical dynamic: the overall political system. I’ve learned that too many Democrats in power (California) and too many Republicans in power (Idaho) leads to bad governance. Supermajorities become sanctimonious, self-interested runaway trains, be they Republican or Democrat. From time to time when my research into a candidate fails to inform my vote, I let this one element drive. Our political system works best when there are checks and balances, when neither party dominates, and electeds have to work together to get things done.

So on the chance that you haven’t yet filled out your absentee ballot, please give some consideration to these principles. I contend that since we can’t really know how a candidate will govern until they’ve governed, consider the need to impose checks on our electeds. Consider the need to hold them accountable to work together for all of us.

Vote like that, will ya?


  1. As always, Teri, so well thought out and presented. And frickin’ sensible. It gives me encouragement that folks might actually follow some common sense when voting.


  2. Ever since poly sci class in high school, I’ve found going to hear a politician speak in public, answering questions, is the best way to know if a candidate is intelligent and has an actual idea of what they truly stand for. I also believe that my best chance to have an influence as a voter is to pay attention at the local level. This past Tuesday I went to hear my state assembly district representative speak. I hardly agreed with anything…but he showed compassion and care for his constituents, and even those who will probably never vote…the homeless. He was a great listener and answered questions openly and honestly.
    So, everyone, take your vote seriously. Go meet your candidates in person. It could very well change your mind and fire you up to get involved. Brochures never tell you the whole story.


  3. VERY GOOD.. . only wish that people would vote like this.. I was a firm believer of going to the polls, but because I was going out of state a couple years ago. I put in for an absentee ballot… now I really believe in them.. because it gives me a chance to read on those that I was not familiar with… and this year there is two things to vote on.. while they sound ok just from the reading.. but I am researching them to make sure. you hit the nail on the head..


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