Thursday, November 09, 2006

Election Day Observations

First off, I can't even begin to tell you how pleased I am with the defeat of Ohio Issue 4 and passage of Issue 5. I'd like to say thank you to any and all of you who voted to make this happen. According to an article I read last night, the smoking ban will go into effect on December 7, but it may take up to six months before it can be fully enforced. I think that means that by December 7, all places where smoking is banned will have to have "No Smoking" signs posted and ashtrays removed, but that it may take longer before they have the legal mechanisms in place to investigate and fine businesses which don't comply. Whatever. I'm just glad it's coming. I'm really looking forward to being able to go out for a drink or two without my clothes and hair stinking when I get home.

I heard some discussion about long lines to vote, but I didn't have any trouble at all. I got up early and went before work on Tuesday morning. I was in and out in ten minutes. This is my second experience voting with the electronic touch-screen method, and I like it a lot. It seems to eliminate a lot of confusion, making it absolutely clear who or what you're voting for. It even goes over everything before you submit your ballot so you can make sure you voted the way you thought you did. I'm sure there are plenty of people, especially older people, who are uncomfortable with the new technology, but it seemed to me that the volunteers at the polling place were doing a good job of helping people out and answering any questions they had.

I'm not totally crazy about the fact that my polling place is in a church. I guess I should say that I don't have any objection to it personally, but it does seem to me that the separation of church and state should go both ways. There's such a struggle to keep religion from impinging upon state and governmental functions; it seems at least vaguely counterproductive then to turn around and use a church for one of the most basic facets of government. Keep them separate in all regards.

The biggest thing that came through loud and clear from this election is that the death knell for the Democratic Party, which sounded after 2004's Presidential election, was a bit premature. I do understand how so many came to that conclusion, given the Democrats' inability to offer up a candidate capable of defeating even so lame an incumbent as our current President, but it seems to have been a one-time thing rather than an inherent problem. That said, it may be that the Democrats' success was due more to the current administration's habit of dropping the ball rather than anything they've done on their own. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of either party. Party politicians make me ill in their mindlessness.

I will admit to voting for a whole spate of Democrats this time around (and many times in the past) because I have a tendency to be more aligned with their brand of mindlessness than with Republicans'. However, I honestly believe that true reform will elude us until many more voters realize that independent and third-party candidates are indeed viable options. I still hear people saying that a vote for such candidates is tantamount to "throwing your vote away." I don't find that to be the case. I feel a person is only throwing a vote away by voting for a candidate that is unworthy to fill a particular office, and unfortunately, that type of person is the only option--from any party--on the ballot far too frequently.

At any rate, despite my lack of confidence in any brand of party politicians to effect much of a change, here's hoping that some fresh voices will be good for Ohio and for the United States. I look forward to seeing how things go once those elected go from being candidates to being in office. Now it's time to start looking ahead to what's coming our way in 2008.

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