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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Primary elections


Today is primary day in Ohio; we’re sorting out who will be on the November ballot for governor on down. In Ohio primaries are run right along party lines. I tell the people at the desk to give me an R ballot for Republican candidates, a D for Democratic candidates, or I for Independent, casting my ballot for issues only, not candidates. Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that.

A lot of voters skip the primaries, unless there is a hot issue. I remember being a righteous little prig somewhere about the age of ten. Our teacher had told us how important it is to vote, even in the primary elections, going on that day.

At home, for lunch, I asked mom if she had voted yet.  No, she only voted in the general election in November. “If you don’t vote in the primaries,” I importantly intoned, “you’re letting someone else select the candidates!” I ate my tomato soup and went back to school.

After school that night mom said yes, I was absolutely correct. She’d walked to the polling station and cast her vote. That made quite an impression on me. I've voted in every general and most primary elections since I've been old enough to vote.

But I've pulled a partisan ballot only three times in fifty years. (Seventy-one minus twenty-one equals fifty! Unbelievable!) Back in 1968, when we needed to elect George McGovern to run against Richard Nixon and end the war, I took a D ballot. It was a good windmill to tilt at, although it left me at the mercy of the Democratic propaganda for the next forty odd years.

2006 was a tight gubernatorial race. I expected Ted Strickland to win as the Democrat, but it would be a close and ugly race, in my opinion, if the Republican candidate was Ken Blackwell. So, I pulled an R ballot to cast my primary vote for his opponent, Jim Petro.  Ted Strickland did win.

The presidential primaries made for a busy polling station a year later. I signed in, moved to the next station and asked for a D ballot. “Challenge!” rang out. A “what the hell” moment for me, which is pretty much how I put it to the young man. It seemed since I had been an R in the previous primary I must forego one partisan primary before switching parties
.
With a good measure of “young man’s” thrown in, I said my first partisan ballot had been cast long ago and never again until the previous year, until I needed to help sort out the Republican candidates. He attempted to stop me there, but I had more to say, and told him Hillary needed my help, else I wouldn't be bothering with this partisan foolishness.

“I've heard enough,” he moaned. “Give her any ballot she wants.”






25 comments:

  1. I did not vote because I am a loser scumbag. Not much going on...

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  2. Never heard of the challenge thing because you switched parties. I would like (doubt it will happen) to see the whole country use more standard rules and ballots for voting. State vs. federal power I guess.

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  3. You were a wise girl to impart such wisdom.
    Elections. We are already getting political phone calls.
    I will vote; I will study the issues; and, I will be an informed voter.
    State power, I would like to see that.

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  4. I believe in voting, in Australia you must vote you are fined if you don't and now I'm a swinging voter, I don't alway vote for the same mob but check out their past record and what's on offer at the time of the election but I must admit our current leader is just not much good by my idea only.
    Merle...................

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  5. Like Merlesworld I am in Australia, and vote. My partner doesn't. It has been so long since he voted he has been taken off the electoral roll. Sad and bad - but his decision.
    I am horrified (and frightened) by the direction our country is taking. The next election can't some soon enough for me.

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  6. When we had our election last month our city mayor and the alderman for our ward were running unopposed. I still went and cast a ballot for school district members and a junior college trustee. If I hadn't gone I would have felt guilty.

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  7. That is interesting to read how your elections are held, Joanne, and the challenge. I too hadn't heard of that. Our primary will be next month, first Tuesday in June. I pretty much vote 95% of the elections; I think I've missed a few special elections here and there, but primaries and general I vote in indeed. I think it is one of the best freedoms we have to be able to cast a ballot; other countries envy us to do so. I figure lots of people died to keep America free; I should honor them by voting and keeping that freedom alive.

    betty

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  8. I'm totally confused. "But I've pulled a partisan ballot only three times in fifty years."
    When I voted they asked if I wanted Democrat, Republican, Independent, Green( and another one that I cannot remember even though it was only a few hours ago) or Issues Only. So am I a complete ignoramus and can ask to vote more than once?

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    1. The ballot for the party you select in the primaries is the only ballot you can slip through the scanner. At the general election everyone gets the same ballot with all the finalists to select among.

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    2. Yep; the first paragraph of your post confused me. I get it now - you had 'pulled' an R one year, and a D one another year, etc.

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  9. Atta girl, Joanne; mow 'em down with WORDS!!!

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  10. Out here in Australia we get handed papers with lists of candidates of all parties on them and we make our selections by choosing one "above the line" if we're voting for a party, or by numbering our choices from one to whatever if we're voting for particular candidates. Below the line you need to number every single square and there's quite a few, above the line you only need to number the one square of the party you are voting for, which is easier so most people I know do that method. We can't select just a Liberal paper or a Labor paper. they're all on the one sheet (sheet is right, it would just about cover a bed), liberal, Labor AND all the minor parties.

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  11. Hari OM
    CHALLENGE??!! He'd have got a bit more than what the...? from me.

    This was very interesting as I don't think I knew that voting was optional in the USofA or any part of it. As some OZ compatriots have already noted, voting is compulsory or a fine is made. (Was intrigued by EC's partner being able to remove himself from the roll...) Here in the UK it remains optional.

    To my mind that is a mistake. I welcomed the compulsory vote. I was always a voter from the minute I was permitted (18 in UK) as I just don't get why folk think they have the right to comment on the state of the nation if they haven't bothered to get themselves active enough to put a mark on a paper. It is not perfect, as in OZ there are a significant number of 'donkey' votes; but this is in part due to the cumbersome 'bedware' River told you about.

    Now I am back in UK and have requested my name be added to the voting roll here once more. That was a month ago and still no acknowledgement. There is an election this week for European Parliament (something that didn't exist before I left the place last century and am not all that happy about...) and I will not be able to act due to not having rec'd my voting card. Maybe that's okay this one time. I have to adjust to a very different political scene here and it is way more complex than it has ever been in OZ. (Had I been present in the last general election though I would have been very miffed indeed had my vote not counted against the current monkey presiding there now...)

    Add to the mix the impending referendum on Scottish independence this year and I have got a lot of deep thinking ahead of me...

    Wow. Rant. Thanks for the fun! YAM xx

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  12. I always believe that if you leave the voting to other people, you relinquish your right to complain. I have voted Democratic, Republican (although, not often) and once for a third party candidate (Anderson). I do not understand why people do not vote in primaries as that is just as important, if not more, than the general election. We, in PA, are also choosing a governor, and until last week, this was a clean, positive, campaign. Then it got ugly, extremely ugly. Of course, that is what is expected in today's world, but aren't we sick of it.

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    1. Of course, Anderson! He had my vote, too. I like YAM's sentiment; she could say she voted against the current administration!

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  13. I sent the entire polling area into a tizzy yesterday by jamming the scanner with my ballot. Phone calls needed to be made. I made my escape. They could extract the second sheet of my ballot and rescan.

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  14. Single issue has become the norm among many voters, a disturbing trend, to my thinking. The republican party has encouraged their voters to do the same thing as you did, voting in the party where a difference can be made.
    Regarding Hillary....did you see that yesterday she said that the issue of the 'gun culture' has gotten out of control in the US. I totally agree, but I wonder if it signals that she isn't going to run in 2016. It's become such a hot button that few politicians will do any more than say they support the 2nd amendment.

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  15. She keeps her cards folded, doesn't she.

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  16. Hi Joanne, I thought I was already a follower of your blog and wondered why I hadn't seen any notifications of posts from you for months and months - It seems I wasn't so apologies and here I am, feeling nostalgic for 'The West Wing' after reading your post. One of the USA's greatest exports in our opinion!

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  17. I always vote so I can complain LOL

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  18. What you said to your mum when you were ten, makes an awful lot of sense to me. I use my vote too.

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  19. I look forward to our primary, also. Good for you.

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  20. I always vote too. I like to be able to whine about anything I want and if i don't vote then I don't get that right.

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  21. I vote too, next we have Europe on the agenda. It is sometimes difficult, because our parties (except a few little ones) are not that different - and now the 2 big ones made a coaltion - which is even more egalizing. We have the feeling that our politicians are very far away from normal life - they preach "don't fly" and do it (themselves) all the time, they preach "climate" and their chauffeurs drive their very big limousines around Berlin, and they preach "eat healthy" and get big as balloons (of course: they eat too much because of stress). If someone makes a desaster, they say "ooops - my fault - maybe.." and then they stay (nobody is made responsible with consequences - if they have to go (seldom!, they cling) they get another post.
    Nevertheless: I vote.

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