Study Candidates, Issues Or Don’t Bother With Your Ballot - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Study Candidates, Issues Or Don’t Bother With Your Ballot

October 23rd, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Study Candidates, Issues Or Don’t Bother With Your Ballot

By David Leibowitz


Oct. 10 marked a big day if you’re interested in Arizona politics: That was the afternoon more than 2 million early ballots for the Nov. 6 general election got mailed to voters. Presumably, those ballots will arrive by the weekend, making this next week a godawful time to watch television.

Unless you like hearing about how “liberal Kyrsten Sinema once passed out Communist tracts to neighborhood trick-or-treaters, destroying the fabric of America!” Or how “war-crazed fighter pilot Martha McSally once cut the line at Space Mountain, telling other Disneyland visitors they would be in her ‘thoughts and prayers’ while they waited an hour to see the cosmos.”

Note: I made those stories up. Both of the women running for the United States Senate this election give enormous Milky Ways to all kids in Halloween costumes – unless they’re clad as small terrorists – and both Sinema and McSally politely offer “back cuts” to eligible guests at all Disney theme parks.

Yeah, I made that up, too.

But here’s the truth: I’m going to take this column in a different direction than the missives regarding voting you’ve read to date. Most pundits, conservatives and liberals alike, agree on one thing: You, dear citizen, should exercise your right to vote.

That’s ridiculous.

The truth is, rights carry with them responsibilities, obligations shared among the citizens of this fine nation. You may think all you’re obliged to do is vote – to sit at your kitchen table and take three minutes to make ink strokes beside your party’s candidates and then mark “no” on the ballot measures and judge retention questions.

If that’s how you approach voting, don’t waste your time. Or ours.

It has never been easier to vote, despite the predictable headlines we’ll all read on Nov. 7 about long lines at the polls somewhere in the Valley. It also has never been easier to get quality information about who’s running and what’s on the ballot.

There are voter guides galore and enough town halls and debates online and televised that we really have no excuse for being oblivious to the candidates and the issues at hand.

Is it too much to ask that in return for exercising a constitutional right literally earned through bloodshed and revolution, that voters spend three hours – or about the time most people spend watching Sunday football – boning up on the issues?

If you can’t be bothered to understand what’s on the ballot, then do us all a favor and toss your ballot in the recycling next to the 147 pieces of direct mail you’ll get this weekend.

About 1.5 million Arizonans have already taken themselves out of the voting mix by failing to register to vote. They literally didn’t even care enough to fill out the form.

Out of the 3.6 million Arizonans who have registered, chances are good that since there’s no President to vote for this cycle, anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of you will stay home. That includes thousands of registered voters who received a ballot in the mail but never bothered to mark it and mail it.

At day’s end, even if Election 2018 has amazing turnout – say 60 percent or so – races like Governor, Senator and the composition of the Arizona Legislature will be decided by about 40 percent of the voting-age adults in this state.

My thought: If your only qualification as a voter is that you’ve breathed for 18 years, you have two options: Take a few hours to get a clue, or stay home and allow educated voters to handle it this year.

We got this. For you, there’s nothing to see here. Literally.