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It appears that I am ready to vote!

October 25, 2008, 6:50 PM

With a little more than a week to go before the election, I went online and made all of my final checks and such, and it appears that I am ready to vote in Montgomery County for the 2008 election. As a first-time Maryland voter, I was concerned that something might have gone wrong in the process when I registered to vote, and I would, for some reason or other, be unable to vote. So this is a good thing. I’d voted in Virginia on numerous occasions, but this is my first time voting in Maryland, and it will be good to again exercise my right to vote.

The way I see it, voting is key to all the various issues that I attend demonstrations about (except Scientology, since that’s a completely different can of beans). You see, if you are eligible to vote and don’t actually go vote, you don’t really have much room to complain when things don’t go well and it becomes time to demonstrate on an issue. Even my anarchist buddies should make sure they are at a voting booth on November 4, because even though they question the legitimacy of the powers being conferred, a lot of their demonstrations involve the actions of elected officials, especially with anti-war demonstrations and some of the discussion regarding controversial highway projects. There, voting the “right” candidate into office might help their causes. So thus I’ll be voting at Bel Pre Elementary School on November 4, and then I’ll see you in the streets.

Meanwhile, I also got to take a look at the Montgomery County sample ballot, available on the University of Maryland‘s site. Besides voting for president and vice president (where there are six candidates on the ballot, plus a write-in), we’re also voting for our member of Congress, a circuit court judge, two referenda on special appeals court judges, three school board candidates (one running unopposed), as well as state referenda on early voting, and slot machines, and two local referenda on repealing “legally ineffective provisions” of the county charter, and on property taxes.

I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that I know next to nothing about the various judicial and school board issues. I have never been involved with Maryland’s judicial system, and I have no children to put through school, so I’ve never given the issues any thought. Then as far as judges go, electing judges is something of a foreign concept to me, since in Virginia, judges are appointed and then confirmed by the General Assembly rather than being directly chosen by the voters.

Then on the state referenda, I do support early voting, though I wonder if two weeks is long enough of a period. I’d be inclined to make the period for early voting longer, like a month or something. Then on allowing slot machines, formally known as “Video Lottery Terminals”, I’m undecided. I’m familiar with that issue, but I don’t really know enough about it yet to make an informed decision on it. So that’s my homework for this week – to find out.

On the local Montgomery County referenda, the first appears to be what I would call a “housekeeping” measure – the provisions being voted on have been rendered null and void anyway, and so it’s just a matter of deleting these provisions from the county charter. On Wikipedia, such a thing would be speedy deletion under criterion G6, as non-controversial housekeeping. Then the other referendum is something I know nothing about, about how difficult it is for council members to levy property taxes where revenues exceed a certain amount. More homework for me on that one.

Then on my congressional delegation, I have no problems with Chris Van Hollen, other than that I wish his office would stop sending me those blasted newsletters. They’re a waste of paper and tax dollars in a time when most households have Internet access, and for those that don’t, public libraries do. Van Hollen has a Web site, and it contains more information than those stupid newsletters could ever have.

And lastly, the top issue: the race for president. I’m voting for Barack Obama – end of story. You may recall that I initially supported Dennis Kucinich for president, but as he unfortunately dropped out of the race, I’ll still give my vote to someone who will support getting us out of Iraq, and appointing judges who will keep Roe v. Wade as settled law.

It’s funny, though – the mother of a friend of mine is very much in the Republican camp, but appears to have a loose grasp on how the system works. After all, we technically don’t elect the president directly. We vote for a slate of electors, and they vote for the president. I believe it’s a bit of an outdated system, but it’s still in effect, and will be in effect for this election. Thus it’s 51 separate contests for electors going on come November 4. And thus why I find my friend’s mother’s comments about my left-wing tendencies amusing, if not comical. She says, “As long as my vote will cancel out his!” as far as the presidential election is concerned, but since she lives in Virginia, and I live in Maryland, it’s two separate elections, and thus her vote for whoever doesn’t “cancel out” anything I vote for in Maryland. After all, I’m voting for ten electors representing Maryland, and she’s voting for 13 electors representing Virginia. Neither one of us gets to vote for the other’s electors.

So there you have it, I suppose. See you at the polls on November 4th.

Web site: United States general elections, 2008

Song: The REAL Sarah Palin, making fun of Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin, from Barely Political, with Obama Girl playing Sarah Palin. On that note, I cannot see Russia from my house. However, during the winter, I can see Georgia (Avenue) from my house...

Quote: And now, let's go vote...