...So, go vote... but.... To borrow heavily from yesterday's "Mallard Fillmore" comic strip: if you don't know what's going on in your Congressional District or what's on the ballot, then don't get on the bus that carts you to the polling place.
Learn your propositions and initiatives and candidates. If you've not done so by now, then you're toast and don't bother unless you have a strong opinion on a candidate that you've done your research on. In California we've got all of the State Offices to vote for from the Governor on down, 13 Propositions, Senate and Congressional races, California Assemblyman races, and where I live, I've got 5 more measures (county and city) and a few city council candidates to deal with.
I will admit it now, I am woefully unprepared. I know most of the propositions, but I don't know where all the porkfat is hiding in them. I don't know enough of the candidate stances, but I do know who I'm voting for in the governor's race. At least I know a few things and might be able to get up to speed on the rest before I have to go cast my vote this afternoon after work.
What I'm afraid of with so many measures to decide on is that people are either not going to bother voting (which is the widespread belief at the moment) or that people are going to pick and choose based either on emotion or the flip of a coin and not bother really learning the impact of the propositions that they face. And that's not just in California - that's for everywhere that's having an election today.
Spend some time today going over your ballot measures before you vote - even if you've already done the research and make sure that what vote you want to cast is the one that you really want to cast. I know a couple of people that love one in California that's going to put more money into schools, but they forget that it's going to raise their property taxes by $50 a year and in all honesty not all of that money is going to go to the schools that need it. And while the proposition for putting sexual predators away for longer periods of time and requiring GPS monitoring of all them is great, where's *that* money going to come from? That's not *anywhere* on the ballot.
It's a case of economics - you have to look at the opportunity costs and the actual financial hit to the bottom line for both of them.
I'm torn on the one about abortion - that one is all about the opportunity costs for me - parental notification of 48 hours before terminating the pregnancy of a minor. Why am I torn? Well, what if it's a minor who is going to get thrown out of her house or beaten by her parents if they're notified that she needs an abortion? What about the children who don't have guardians who can make that decision? What if they're forced to keep the child? Yes, they can petition the juvenile courts to waive the notification, but that's going to take time, and I suspect that the parents would know if the minor was going to be in juvenile court. On the other hand, I'd want to know if my daughters sought an abortion because of the mental and emotional aspects of their recovery, not just the physical.
It's a touchy subject for anyone, regardless of what their stance on abortion is because no matter what your stance is, your children may not share it. But that's neither here nor there, this is about voting. Many have said in the past to vote your conscience but that's not always the wisest choice - this year you not only have to vote your conscience but all the research that you've done preparing for today...
... So good luck, and go vote, and I'm going to continue poring through my ballot measures so that I'll be as prepared as I can be.