What’s on your ballot?

Thoughts

Election season is definately one of my favorite times of the year. Everything just comes together- after all voting is what makes a democracy special… It feels like you are actually having an impact in the world, all that jazz.

It hurts my heart that more people don’t vote in America. The only things the founding fathers wanted you to do is pay taxes, occasionally do jury duty and freakin’ vote. The American voter turn out rate fluctuates between 40-60% (depending on whether its a midterm or presidential election). Look at the turnout for Scotland’s vote for independence. People were shocked that folks actually voted (for this vote kids 16+ could vote. And even though the referendum didn’t pass, I think this vote was good for the practice of democracy).

In some cases, it could take major ballot initiatives to get people to vote. Americans don’t vote in midterm elections, but when you add propositions that involve the legalization of marijuana or same-sex marriage, people actually come out.

This year I voted early cause my Tuesday’s are usually crazy. The last time I voted was in the 2012 presidential elections, but I voted in Pennsylvania, since that was where I was going to school at the time and “I wanted my vote to count.” I knew nothing about PA politics so the ballot was Greek to me.

This year, since I’m back home I had to do my homework. Before, I went to the polls, I looked up a sample ballot for my area before I voted (here’s the pdf).

sample ballot-page-001

I was a little embarrassed that I had not realized all the positions, both locally and statewide that were up this term. John Coryn, one of my senators, is up for reelection. I had no idea. Haven’t seen a single lawn sign, TV ad, radio commercial, nothing. He has a democratic opponent (couldn’t name him to save my life) but Cornyn is going to keep his seat without breaking a sweat. I’m upset that this isn’t a competitive race. All races should be competitive. That way politicians (on both sides) won’t get comfortable doing nothing in the Capitol. Eric Cantor learned the hard way that you should never ever ever get too comfortable.

So back to my ballot. The little small Texas town of Denton had definitely been poppin these past few months. There are two major ballot innitiativrs that are being voted on.

1. Fracking

There is a proposition to fan hydraulic fracturing withing city limits. In Texas, mineral owners have greater rights than land owners. One of my professors said that no matter what happens, the Texas legislature is going to make it so the oil companies are going to continue to drill no matter the outcome of the vote. But if there was regulation at the state level in regards to drilling in residential neighborhoods, then we wouldn’t be in this mess would we? Look at all the money being spent in lil’ old Denton. And we are making it on the national news (Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Marketplace).

2. Drinks

There is also a proposition to sell hard liquor within city limits. Proponents argue that Denton is losing revenue to neighboring cities that have liquor store and businesses within the city have to operate as private clubs in order to serve hard liquor, which is expensive. Is the argument that alcohol contributes to the degradation of society still valid? This is too much, pour me a drink….

There are also some bond packages, for roads and parks and such, bonds almost always pass and a lot of the local roads suck, so I’m all for that.

Anyway, I guess next week we’ll be focusing on 2016. The Dems are ready for Hilary (but the should probably have a few back ups just in case that doesn’t happen) and the GOP needs to find a new sweetheart that can appeal to the traditional conservatives and the tea partiers. I cannot wait.

Anyway. Go vote. Stay informed. ‘merica

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