For many years I have been using the absentee ballot to submit my vote. The convenience of this method far surpasses trying to find my voting location before or after work hours and dealing with the extended time sometimes needed to wait my turn.
Another advantage of absentee voting is that you receive the ballot questions early and have plenty of time for researching candidates and issues. That however can work both ways. Having your name on the list to receive an absentee ballot also lets candidates and marketers know that you have enough interest in the system to request a ballot and thus you are likely to vote. Candidates aware of this begin their marketing tactics when the absentee ballots go out so my mailbox now receives a daily deluge of flashy flyers and lately some surprises.
Last week my wife, who also votes absentee, received a small box in the mail with a candidate’s name on the outside. When she opened it, inside was a small mirrored gadget that obviously was intended to be handy in a women’s purse or perhaps glove box. The device had the candidate’s name printed on it so any time it is used the name is seen. No doubt good advertising.
A day or two later another box came in the mail from the same candidate, this time addressed to me. Inside was a mechanical gadget emblazoned with the candidate’s name.
I can only assume such trinkets have been received by others. Obviously women and men are stereotyped by their gender for the type of gadget they receive.
Certainly the intent was to influence my vote for this particular candidate. I would imagine that they are hoping to gain more votes either from increased name recognition, based on their assumption that I will use the gift frequently, or perhaps they are assuming I will be grateful for the gift and therefore have a higher opinion of the candidate. Unfortunately, far too often voters do indeed select a candidate based upon simple name recognition with little if any knowledge of what the person’s politics are.
Guess what? It is not going to work. I most certainly will vote but my decision on who to vote for will be based on facts about the individual and not advertising gadgets. There is however some things a candidate could do that would be more helpful with voters like me.
Tell me how accessible you will be to me and find a way to prove it. Showing up at gala events and shaking hands is not accessibility, having a discussion about quality issues is.
If you are an incumbent, how have you changed in office? Is your attitude to hob knob with the self impressed who would not have previously given you the time of day or are you still genuinely in touch with your constituents? What have you done to open your office to the less than influential that also elected you?
Tell me how you research the many issues you may be voting on if elected. Do you have or expect a large staff to do most of the work for you and provide you with their summaries? Do you read enough of the documentation to understand the reasoning behind the issue and not what some un-elected staff person tells you it is?
Where do you stand on time in office? If you have been in government for more than 10 years, you are way over due to move off the public dole and need to experience making a living in the real world. If we want government to change, we need to start by changing politicians.
And of course, what are your solutions to the many problems we have, most of which have been created by too much government and politicians who have been in office too long and are infatuated with themselves.
Answering in generalities will not do and sending out gadgets and flashy cards telling me things without any supporting information is useless. Give me facts and standards I can count on.
Unfortunately all this is only for my one vote. As a voter who insists on facts, I may be substantially outnumbered and the time you may spend to address such questions adequately for my vote may not be needed for the bulk of the voters.
If things are to improve we need better politicians and they will only come from more careful voting.