Deciding A Vote

In the early 80’s I cast my first ballot. My dad took my younger brothers and me to lots of Brewers’ games, and at every game we got a punch card to select the players we wanted to see in the All-Star Game, the annual exhibition between players from the National League and the American Leage selected by fan vote.

My voting process was simple. First, I selected all the Brewers on the ballot. Then, I voted for Darryl Strawberry. Although not a Brewer, he clearly had the best name in baseball.

Later, when I voted in my first "real" election, I remember being taken aback by all the names on the ballot—for positions and seats I’d never even heard of. It was a small, local election, and my dad was treasurer for the Washington County Sheriff candidate, so I was only prepared to vote for that seat. For a minute I considered my old voting strategy--but instead of picking Brewers, I’d just vote for all the women, and the men with good names.

After a few minutes with the ballot, I decided to vote for Sheriff and leave the rest blank. It seemed a waste of a ballot, but I felt I was doing my duty by both voting for what I knew was right, as well as for not voting where I was unsure.

I've been thinking a lot about this ever since one of the bloggers in Charlie Sykes’ poll said he was probably going to vote "Yes" on the ban because among other things “he hadn’t studied the pro and con positions of the issue.”

I certainly don’t mean to single this person out, because I think a lot of us are guilty of voting for something on which we haven’t studied the pros and cons. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve voted on at least one referendum I didn’t know would be on the ballot.

I bring this up now, because today is an election day. It's a day to both get out to the polls and be confident and knowledgable on the ballot. I guess since voting in my first election, I've come to realize just how monumental the consequences of any election are. I find it interesting that my vote for town board supervisor or county commissioner counts just as much as the vote cast by the actual candidate running, or the political junky who spends all of her time researching this stuff.

The vote in November will actually alter the Wisconsin State Consitution--the highest law of our land. It's up to all of us to make sure that when people get to the ballot box they know exactly what they're voting on, so they don't just make a blind yes or no vote. I feel lucky to live in a democracy, where everybody's vote counts. Equally. At the same time, it makes clear the responsibility we all owe each other to take the time to research the issues and candidates we vote on.



At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Erin Roberts said...

Ingrid, I can identify with your original voting process, your intermediate voting process, and your current look at the voting process. I have had a very similar transgression and now that a topic on the ballot is near and dear to me I am learning to read much much more on all the issues!

At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Erin Roberts said...

Spell check is great till you somehow manage to change the entire meaning of you sentence by changing the word transformation to did that happen? My apologies.

At 6:39 PM, Blogger Ingrid Ankerson said...

Hey, thanks Erin. (And I'm with you on the spellchecking issues...)


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