Monday, October 16, 2006

Fully inform voters

More fun with the California voter pamphlet: candidate statements.

These statements cost the candidates $20 per word, which we know from the statement of the Green Party candidate for insurance commissioner, who spent $20 per word to complain about having to spend $20 per word: “Candidate statements, once free, now cost $20 per word. Fight pay-to-play government—Vote Green.” Is pay-to-play $20 or $60? The Green running for treasurer (who actually has a fairly lengthy statement), says “Corporate money should not buy political influence, so I don’t take contributions from big business!” I’m sure they were lined up around the block, too.

While that $20 per word cost scared off some of the poorer campaigns, like that of Arnold Schwarzenegger, it produced a commendable pithiness from the Peace and Freedom candidate for controller: “Raise taxes on the rich; lower taxes on workers.” In others, it just produced irony. Here is the complete statement of the Libertarian candidate for secretary of state: “Fully inform voters.” Some candidates just direct you elsewhere: the Greens’ controller candidate asks, “For details of why I have hope, please see my website...”

The P & F candidate for governor suggests “VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE! NOT YOUR FEAR!” Um, okay. The Libertarian candidate for lieut. governor wants us to vote for conscientious objector status in the war on drugs, running on a Marijuana Peace Plan platform (“Please join with me and Willie Nelson to help save family farms with industrial hemp”). Last time around the Libby candidate for this post ran on a platform of legalizing the ownership of ferrets.

The Green candidate for Lite Gov tells us “Don’t be fuelish” – and instantly lost any chance I’d vote for her.

The Democratic candidate for secretary of state isn’t bad, and states that “California must never be like Florida or Ohio,” which is true for just so many reasons, but I think voting rights would be better protected by someone from a smaller party. Unfortunately, the P & F candidate, while calling for new technology to improve voter turnout rather than give us insecure and faulty voting systems, has her email account at Hotmail. And the Green Party’s aptly named Forrest Hill explains, “I am a Financial Advisor with a Ph.D. from MIT in Marine Biology. I have the qualifications to fix our system and bring Free and Fair elections to California.” Only if global warming continues and we’re all voting underwater.

The Green candidate for attorney general tells us, “Most Californians prefer life imprisonment without parole to the death penalty.” Er, personally, I don’t think I’d particularly enjoy either one.

Fortunately, if the two-party system too often seems like a choice between lethal injection and life imprisonment without parole, we do have other options. So read their statements to be fully informed, check their websites to find out why they have hope, vote your conscience not your fear, join Willie Nelson, don’t be fuelish, and make sure that California is never ever like Florida or Ohio.

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