Thursday, October 23, 2008

My vote is in

Had to vote in Maryland this year unfortunately for I would have preferred to cast my ballot in the "swing state" of Virginia like in 2004. But I lived in Maryland for about 4 months between 05 and 06 and that was enough to establish residency (renewed my driver's license as well to cement my status as a Maryland resident). Fortunately it looks like Virginia is going strongly for Obama so maybe my vote there wasn't as critical as it was in 04.

Anyway, the Maryland ballot is very long and has a bunch of choices that I know nothing about (judges, board of education, etc). I tried doing some research on those choices but there wasn't much info available online so I went with random stuff. For example, I voted for one dude who has a tendency to speak in the 3rd person. I just think it's funny to say things like, "Henry Le doesn't like it when you speak bad about Henry Le." I also voted for one woman because she was in the Peace Corp and I figure someone who does that can't be too bad.

At any rate, Maryland has a couple ballot measures that are interesting. The first is a measure to authorize early voting and absentee voting. I heartly voted for this one. Early voting is a great idea as far as I'm concerned because it gives people more time to vote. There was a time when I didn't participate in the voting process and to some extent having to vote on a Tuesday was a factor. So I'm all in on early voting.

I voted no on the gambling provision. Apparently the state wants to authorize slot machines which would generate revenue for education. I'm not a fan of gambling provisions because I think that sort of thing is essentially a 2nd tax (or 3rd after the lottery) on the poor who have a tendency to gamble more than the rich and have more to lose by pissing away their hard earned coin. But even beyond that I read somewhere today that for the state to actually see revenue significant enough to impact education the slot "casinos" would have to rake in a billion dollars a year and that's just absurd from where I'm sitting. Bottom line, you wanna gamble in the US, go to Atlantic City, Vegas, or a Native American reservation.

The other two measures were incredibly hard to discipher and I can't say that I really figured them out. One seemed like a procedural measure and the other wanted to guarantee that any change to property tax rates was only passed by unanimous consent (9 out of 9 votes on the County Council) instead of 7 of 9 votes. I voted against that. There are legitimate reasons why counties may need to raise taxes and in my experience there's always one asshole in any machine. Requiring 9 of 9 votes to raise property taxes just risks giving too much power to that one asshole and I really don't see why it's necessary to do that. Of course, I could have misread the entire bit because it wasn't terribly straightforward but that's my version and I'm sticking to it.

One vote for Obama down, 50 million to go.



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