A Stones Throw 11-7-14

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I didn’t vote last Tuesday.

I wish I had – after reading “The $7 million question” that filled most of the first page of last week’s Vevay Newspapers, I had a much better understanding of Switzerland County’s debt structure.

The article was factual, informative, and objective – all the things I want when I need to know what is real and what is gossip. I admit, the information should have helped me make a couple of voting decisions.

Unfortunately, there was one significant error in the article. In fact, it was so significant, I did not vote last Tuesday.

“The $7 million question” included the statement “As Election Day nears this Tuesday. . .”.

That statement was true if you live in Vevay – or if you are willing to drive 15 to 20 miles in order to vote in Vevay.

If I had known there would be new clarity to the County’s debt issue, I might have considered voting on November 4th. Instead, I took advantage of the “traveling voting center” that was available in Patriot on Tuesday or Wednesday of last week. If I wanted to vote locally, those were the only days I could vote.

Yes, I voted.

Therein lies a lot of things I do not like about the modern view of democracy. In Switzerland County alone there are 12 different locations where the “traveling voting centers” are available.

But, as expected in a County that views Vevay as the County with the exclusion of everyone else, all but one of these locations must vote prior to November 4th. Or, they must drive to Vevay if they want to vote on “Election Day.”

Even this might not be a problem if the candidates and the political world would recognize that “Election Day” is no longer “Election Day.”

I have had problems with “early voting” ever since it became popular in Ohio. News reports would show dozens of people lined up waiting to be among the first to vote – 30 days before the actual “Election Day.”

I always thought it was the voter’s responsibility to understand the qualifications of each candidate, understand the issues, and then vote for the most qualified candidate.

If this can be done 30 days before Election Day, there should be no need for additional information about candidates or issues after the first voting day – even if that day comes 30 days early.

I might even embrace early voting if this were the case. At the least, all campaigning, all news reporting, and anything else that might sway a voter’s decision should be eliminated.

That is the only way each vote has the same value.

I find it hard to believe that thousands of people in Ohio – or a thousand or two in Switzerland County – can make qualified decisions when significant information is yet to come. Instead, I think too many people vote without regard to facts, or the qualification of candidates.

Then they complain about the government. (Of course, the problem is always the “other guy.”)

Since I know early voting is here to stay, I have a few proposals that should be enacted:

We have “do not call” laws that keep most unwanted solicitation/harassment calls from being sent to our phones. I propose that a new “no more campaign” law be enacted that allows an “early voter” to register his/her vote and at that time all campaign material – mailings, signs, advertisements, visits, calls, etc. would be forbidden.

In the computer age, registry of the “No more campaign” law could be automatic when our vote is completed.

If the “No more campaign” law is violated, an individual should be able to return to a voting location, have his/her previous vote voided, and be allowed to vote again.

And again, if another violation occurs.

Ridiculous?

Absolutely – but no more ridiculous than either choosing to vote early, or essentially being forced to vote early.

Having said that, I must admit I did vote for one individual that I did not agree with on several items in his “platform.” But, I didn’t have much choice. It was either vote for a candidate that presented a detailed “platform” that he planned to work on, or vote for a candidate who wanted votes because he was him.

When I have a choice between a candidate with a plan and a candidate trying to sell his personality – I go with the plan – even if I don’t agree with some of the plan.

Unfortunately, I could only find one candidate with a detailed plan.

I could find a lot of candidates that indicated their main qualifications were that the “other guy” was “bad for the country,” “bad for the state,” or “bad for the county.”

I don’t know when it was determined that voters should make responsible decisions by voting against a candidate rather than voting for a candidate. To me, the more negative a candidate is toward his/her opponent, the more I think that candidate has nothing positive to offer about himself/herself.

Oh well – voting is over for this year.

I don’t like the fact that people are allowed to vote long before they can know all they need to know about issues and candidates.

I don’t like the fact that Switzerland County residents (except those who live in and around Vevay) are expected to vote early at one of the “traveling voting centers.”

I do like the fact that I will be able to turn television on and not see Mitch McConnell and Allison Grimes explain how bad the other is for the country and for Kentucky. At least we are in Indiana – so they are not our problem.

That is, until one of them is elected.

– Mike Cooney