Voting scares me - it feels like a test I've had a year (or four) to prepare for and yet, every time I get into the little booth, I feel like I haven't studied. I'm generally aware of the candidates for major positions but some of the minor lines throw me. County Clerk? I have to vote for that person? What sort of platform should I expect, "I will faithfully record County real estate transactions and will do my best to ensure name changes are filed with the State in timely manner?" How might the platform differ from party to party? No matter how much research I do ahead of the vote, I always feel unqualified to choose.
This year, I had a personal chat with one of the newcomer candidates for town council. He seemed like a nice guy and I agreed with the things he had to say about our town. He was also genuinely interested in my concerns - he even sent me a follow-up letter addressing one point on which he did some research after we talked. I did my own follow-up research and found that, while I liked that guy, I wasn't keen on some of the things his party's been up to.
On the heels of more research than I've done before an election in quite a while, I turned up to vote with a measure of confidence I'm not used to. Still, I found myself torn in the voting booth - would my newcomer be able to change the direction of his party in the ways he talked about? Or would it be better to vote for him but then vote for people from the other parties - people with platforms I also agree with - for surrounding positions? Splitting the ticket is always awful, right? Nobody agrees? Ack! I jabbed some choices, left some blank, and exited the booth feeling the same sort of turmoil as always. Maybe next year I'll get the right answers?