Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Primary Elections

Today I voted in an Illinois primary election. In Illinois you must ask for a particular party's primary ballot. I had a choice of Republican, Democratic, or Green ballots, and it was difficult to make up my mind. I have some opinions about the Democratic candidates for governor and senate, and so I was tempted to vote on the Democratic Party ballot, but then there are several other contested races where I hadn't done any work to investigate the candidates, so I would have left many choices blank. Likewise in the Republican races there were a couple candidates I would have wanted to vote against, but I generally knew very little about most of the Republican candidates, aside from one who is a personal friend (and running uncontested) and another I like who is going to win her primary easily anyway. So, I took a Green Party ballot. I'm very happy about the Green Party's senate candidate LeAlan M. Jones. Also, it was easier and faster to vote on the Green Party ballot, because none of the positions were contested, and there were many offices where no Green Party person was running.

I checked out my county clerk's election results (Sangamon County Election Results). It appears that 92 other persons in this county took Green primary ballots as I did. That is only 0.41% of all the persons who voted in the primary election, the numbers are probably low because the Democratic and Republican parties have interesting contested elections, and on the Green Party Ballot all you could do was confirm that you supported the uncontested candidates (or just not vote for some of them, if you only supported some Green candidates -- the Greens have put some fairly flaky people to stand for elections before).

I'm the only person in my precinct who took a Green primary ballot, and the precinct across the street from me didn't have anyone take a Green ballot. But at least 93 of us in the county did, so that's comforting to know.

Some of my coreligionists (Baha'is) don't vote in Illinois primaries because you must ask for a particular party's ballot or else ask for a nonpartisan ballot (and there was nothing on the nonpartisan ballot today). Baha'is aren't supposed to become involved in partisan political party politics. Well, I'm an independent voter and I've never actually joined a political party. Taking a party's primary ballot doesn't mean one is a member or partisan supporter of that party. I think we all have a duty to be involved in elections and political discussions. We just must do so with our allegiances to basic principles and ethical motives, rather than agendas to help a particular political party gain more power.

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