I was wrong, and other voting irregularities

What a pleasant surprise! The morally reprehensible ballot proposition (California's Proposition 82) that I feared was certain to pass was soundly defeated by a 39/61 ratio. Only two of California's 58 counties passed it (one by less than 350 votes).

As a bonus, the other proposition (a bond measure) was also defeated. I have a “guilty until proven innocent” attitude toward Statewide bond measures, as a state with one of the highest tax rates in the country has some very large means and should be able live within them. (Local bonds measures are a different story.)

Despite these results, I'm not sure if my cynicism about the general population's lack of moral fiber should be eased, or my cynicism about the general population's apathy should be aggravated. Voter turnout appears to have been in the pitiful 20-30% range.

Due to the low turnout, I'm sure all kinds of groups will be doing “get out the vote” drives for November. I've always thought those were sending the wrong message, because it's better to not vote than to vote in ignorance. If you vote in ignorance, you're voting based upon something as superficial as a name (“oooh, I've heard of this Hollywood celebrity”) or a sound bite (“Proposition XYZ, for our kids, for our future!”).

There is no issue out there that can not be made to sound appealing. Who could vote against something called the “safe streets and safe children act” (capital punishment for speeding) or a bill that “guarantees equal opportunities for all our children, adults, and seniors” (makes it illegal to not hire someone who applies for employment)?

You often have to dig to really understand something. With any ballot proposition, there are three unrelated levels to the issue:

  1. The general idea
  2. The specifics
  3. How it's to be done

As it was with yesterday's reprehensible Proposition 82, the first is most often something anyone could love, like “support our kids” or “support our future”. Whatever #1 is, it's usually just a bunch of sound bites that have very little to do with the real considerations (#2 and #3), and everything to do with garnering the ignorant vote. Being factually correct is certainly not a requirement.

In the case of yesterday's Proposition 82, #2 was “empower the Teachers' union”, and #3 was “rob others.”

Sorry, enough ranting.... we should be back to our regularly-scheduled photographs-of-my-kid entries tomorrow.

One comment so far...

I too am glad to see your prediction was wrong. One minor correction to your post. Three counties passed it, not two. It’s easy to miss San Franscisco county on the map provided by the Secretary of State. SF passed it with 58% of the vote. Thankfully they didn’t carry the state.


— comment by Steve Gardiner on June 8th, 2006 at 4:26am JST (17 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink
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