Posted by Brad @ 11:15 am on November 6th 2012

I Voted

And for the first time in years, I didn’t feel good about it. I was enthusiastic about precisely none of my votes (save a soft spot for a perpetual state libertarian also-ran), which were all over the place.

My ballot below. Tell me about yours.

I did vote Gary Johnson for President, despite the fact that one of the curious after effects of Ron Paul fever is a detachment from third partyism and a growing cynicism that that route will ever effect change in this country (Bob Barr didn’t help). In the last month or so I have entertained the idea of voting Romney as a protest vote – and I still would have voted for him if my choice were restricted to him or Obama – and frankly I don’t really have any reason to believe he’d be a particularly awful President. You can say a lot of things about Romney, but he’s never struck me as crazy (unlike, say, Bush or McCain), which is what I worry about most in a potential executive. A true believer idealist who would not be questioned and have relatively free reign to remake the country in his image, such as election-eve Obama or post-911 Bush, strike me as a lot more dangerous than a say-anything technocrat with no real agenda. I could have justified a Romney vote, particularly if I accepted the two party paradigm or strategic voting considerations. But ultimately, with Johnson there, I had an out to cast my vote for good rather than the lesser of two evils. And I took it.

I voted for Tom Smith for Senate (over Bob Casey), despite the fact that Smith is by no means my ideal Republican. Ultimately though, that was a party vote – Casey has been a wasted seat for anything, and Smith would at least be another fiscal hawk voice in the body. So long as Smith passed a basic not-Santorum test of right-wingedness (which he did…just), and Casey did nothing to distinguish himself in other areas where a Democrat might sway me life foreign policy, civil liberties, or social liberalism (which he did not), I’ll generally default to a generic Republican vote for Senate, which I did here.

I voted Kathleen Kane, Democrat, for Attorney General. I normally don’t like to vote for criminal prosecutor “tough on crime” types for AG, but, with PA’s battle over voter ID laws and the like, I’d rather a Democrat be running that particular ship right now.

For Auditor General I voted Libertarian, because I recognized the candidate as 2004’s Senate candidate, Betsy Elizabeth Summers, who I liked very much, and is probably the state’s best Libertarian candidate. Might be the only vote I felt good about, actually. She’s a solid vote from me every time she pops up on my ballot.

Voted Republican for State Treasurer.

For U.S. Representative PA-2, I like the Democratic candidate on a community organizing level – she’s a very good neighborhood-type politico – but she’s also way, way liberal. So I (think) I voted for the Republican sacrificial lamb (kind of an interesting guy though). Either that or I just voted for the Libertarian. Even two hours later, I honestly can’t remember.

For my state rep, voted against the longtime incumbent (basic party machine guy of the sort that big liberal cities like Philadelphia and Chicago seem to churn out and install, for decades, in droves) and for the Republican challenger, whoever the hell that was.

Four ballot questions, voted in favor of two that essentially added layers of budget scrutiny (mostly in a transparency and bidded contract sense), against approving an infrastructure loan, and the one that kind of confounded me was the following:

(3 ) Shall The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter – which allows for a preference in the civil service regulations for the children of Philadelphia firefighters or police officers who were killed or who died in the line of duty – be amended to further allow for a preference for the grandchildren of such firefighters or police officers?

I voted no on impulse, but wasn’t quite clear on what “preference in the civil service regulations” might entail – although I couldn’t think of any possible interpretation I would be inclined to vote in favor of.

The (absolutely wonderful) Committee of Seventy gave me the answer:

This amendment to the Home Rule Charter would authorize City Council to provide a preference on civil service entrance examinations to the grandchildren of firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty.

STILL not quite sure what that would entail in practice – accepting lower scores than would normally be passable, or just giving preference to the grandchildren over someone else in cases where the scores are equal? If the latter, I might have been inclined to vote in favor, but if the former, not. In any event, am comfortable with my no vote.

…and while I had this text box up, I went and checked out the actual resolution and testimony for the question (way down here), and it doesn’t get any clearer as to what “preference” means in this instance. So a mystery it will remain, as I’m not really willing to devote any more time to researching a ballot question that will have no real impact on anything and will pass overwhelmingly anyway.

So, if partisanship is your thing, my ballot was:

Three or four Republicans
Two or three Libertarians
One Democrat

With the top three races on the ballot (President/Senator/Attorney General) going Libertarian/Republican/Democrat.

Sounds about right.

Still – what a shitty election.


  1. President: Barrack Obama (as per my vote swap agreement for my Texas friend who will vote Gary Johnson)

    Senate: Bill Nelson (D) because Conni Mack the 24th strikes me as an overly entitled frat boy douche inheriting his political positions from his father and grandfather.

    Congress: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) because its nice to have a Repbulican with some very real deviation from party orthodoxy on some civil liberties issues and that is invited to appear at ACLU events (even if it is because she is in a high gay population district) despite her hardcore neconservative and Cuba policy fetish (this is Miami, so that latter thing is mandatory)

    All state and local officials: did not vote, don’t know a thing about most of them.

    All state initiatives: NO on all 11 of them as they are a frothy mixture of political power grabs, unwarranted and feel good tax base carve outs, useless political gestures, and bad fiscal policy guidance.

    Comment by Jack — 11/6/2012 @ 2:15 pm

  2. President: Gary Johnson
    Everything else: a mix of Libertarian (where running), GOP and Democratic candidates, generally with an anti-incumbent bent.

    I share Brad’s utter apathy regarding this cycle. Never before in my political consciousness have I been so completely uncaring. Certain things animate me (extrajudicial killings of US citizens and SCOTUS nominees, for two) but on the whole, I just can’t muster interest.

    I will be watching the gay marriage and marijuana legalization issues, but alas, there’s hardly anything interesting on the local level either. Like Jack, I pretty much went straight no on any local initiatives.

    And I suppose that there’s always 2016.

    Comment by Cameron — 11/6/2012 @ 5:45 pm

  3. President: Gary Johnson, the best Presidential candidate of my adult life, and the first Libertarian to run for the position who could adequately perform its functions. Here’s to one million.

    US House: Supported a Libertarian nonentity over orthodox Republican and Sea-of-Galilee nude bather Kevin Yoder. The Democratic party did not bother to contest this seat–a seat which they held four years ago.

    State Senate and House–Kansas is about to become the ultimate acid test of orthodox Republican governance, with hardcore ChristCon Sam Brownback in the Governor’s office and a 2/3 majority in both legislative chambers. On top of this, supporters of the Governor organized successful primary insurgencies against most of the moderate Republican incumbents who’d been acting as a brake on his agenda. I had a couple of unusually Christianist types on my ballot, especially Senata candidate Greg Smith, who lost his daughter to a predator a few years back and never, ever, EVER fails to make that fact the central subject of his campaign material. I voted for both centrist Democrat challengers, not that it will make any difference. Seriously, keep an eye on this state; we are going to find out in the next decade or so what happens when a political party gets literally everything it wants.

    Comment by Rojas — 11/6/2012 @ 6:05 pm

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