As I wrote in Part I, which covered the major offices and in Part II, which covered the propositions, the general election is just about a week away, and that means it is time to go through the ballot to revisit how I should vote. I do this afresh each election, and I post my analysis here for you to review. If you disagree, let me know with a convincing reason why I should support the other side. But more importantly, I encourage you to do the same: Go through your sample ballot, where ever you are, and study the candidates and make an informed decision. Put some critical thought behind your vote. Don’t just vote a slate without thinking — on either side. Don’t just vote against the other guy; vote for the positions you like. This is your chance to make a difference. Most importantly, remember to vote. Many many many, and even many more, have given their lives so that you have the ability to vote. Respect them, and exercise your franchise. Even if you disagree with me.
On to Part III: The Judgeships. Often, it is asked why we vote on these — after all, no one knows any of the candidates. It often seems a waste of candidates money; a waste of ballot space; and it opens the judges up to bribes in the form of campaign contributions. We vote on judge because the electorate demanded it: they wanted to be able to throw out judges that they felt were soft on crime, or who ruled the way that didn’t like. In other words, they wanted judges to enforce their political positions, not necessarily the law. So, what do I look for in a judge? Simple:
- Strong qualifications from respected legal associations
- Absence of evidence of malfeasance or bias
- Evidence of strong ethics, and ideally, being governed by the law even if they personally disagree
Do they have to agree with me? No, they have to follow the law. Secondary considerations are encouraging the vision of a judicial body that reflects the makeup of society. We are judged by our peers, and that is more than just the jury. Judges require varied backgrounds to understand and interpret, and that is something not exclusive to white men and white women.
So, as they used to say, “Here come ‘de Judge”. Note that many of these offices are not races; they are confirmations of appointments.
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