Lesser Evils

Apparently I'm not the only one who waited until the last moment to decide how I was going to vote. My efforts to look up candidate information on the Project Vote Smart website this afternoon were repeatedly thwarted by temporary errors due to too much traffic. I finally gave up and went with the voters guide at the News & Observer, cross-referenced to various endorsements.

I'm not eligible to vote in the hot elections in my area -- Durham county District Attorney or the Wake County education bond issue. So the most interesting elections in my district this time around were the judicial races -- everything else is pretty much a done deal; the Democrats are going to sweep the county. (In half of the races, they're running unopposed.) Judicial elections are technically non-partisan, although free speech means that it's the candidate's choice whether to campaign on her/his personal political affiliation. In the state-published voters guide, "endorsed by Senators Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr" was code for "Republican."

Voting has come to feel like a ridiculous exercise. There were no candidates in this race about whom I was genuinely excited -- perhaps because I didn't get to know them well enough; more likely because my values and concerns do not square with either major party, so every vote is a compromise. And even if there had been a candidate I supported whole-heartedly, quite arguably, mathematically, voting would still not be worth the time it takes. But still I take the time and do the research, as a sort of ritual act of a citizen of a democracy.

How will it all turn out? I'm sure my friends at NPR and other media outlets will not fail to chatter up a storm about counting and recounting and fussing about machines. Wait and see, wait and see...


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