Ballot have begun arriving. Did you get yours? Are you overwhelmed by the length? I was and I have been following many of these elections/issues closely. I sat down today to write out my thoughts for a facebook group and thought I would share them here in case anyone else feels overwhelmed. I know my opinions might not mesh with everyone but discussion can usually be helpful to everyone.


1st-  Even if you do not know what vote to cast for each question, you can vote for the ones you do know and leave the rest blank. 

I left all of the votes for retaining judges blank because I do not have any knowledge of these judges and I would hate for my “yes” vote to counteract a “no” vote from someone who might have real interactive knowledge.  


2nd-  I would strongly discourage you from filling in the straight ticket box (first question) and then mailing in your ballot.  The biggest reason for this is that two of our major elections (local and state school board) are non-partisan and if you just select straight ticket, you will not cast a vote in these particular races.


From there, here are my thoughts:


I will be voting for Mitt Romney for Senate.  I did listen to the debate and gave this some thought.  Jenny Wilson’s “multiple choice Mitt” during the debate seemed a bit over done but it got me thinking. I was talking to a friend about this and she commented on how it should be viewed as a good thing when someone can listen to new information and change their position based on the added data. We have been conditioned to believe that someone who can do this is not someone we can trust in politics because they might turn on us. But isn’t the inflexible what has gotten us here in the first place? Mitt needs to embrace the moderate and help educate people on the value of adaptive learning. There does have to be some lines in the sand but certainly not as many as the far right and far left have lea us to believe.  I don’t care that he is not “Utahn”.  I care that he cares about our country, want to change the current climate in Washington, and has the clout to do just that.
I will be voting against Prop 2.  My biggest reason to vote for Prop 2 was because on a federal level marijuana was classified as a schedule 1 drug and thus following, could not be distributed through pharmacies. I felt like there was no way forward for people to access marijuana medicinally without the proposition. However, just two weeks ago the medical component of marijuana was rescheduled to level 5 drug thus allowing it to be distributed through pharmacies. While this does not mean that access will start tomorrow, the proposition will not mean that either. I feel much better about using pharmacists who have been through years of training in distribution rather than dispensaries. Regardless of what the compromise is, I think we have to recognize that a route has been opened on the federal level.
I will vote for question 1 even though I have serious issues with pushing a gas tax increase to fund education.  (Gas tax should help cities, which are already struggling to figure out how to pay for it, fix roads.  Period.)  As this is a question, it will not hold legal weight.  It is more like a survey.  I think the legislature needs to see that Utahns want more (and equal) funding throughout the state.  I wish Our Schools Now had compromised to a property tax increase being the question (as this is the more logical route for an education funding boost) but I believe a gas tax increase for education will be found unconstitutional if pursued.  However, a yes vote will still get the message heard. 
Other votes-  Yes to Prop 3 & 4.  Eric Eliason for District 1 (I have given my reasons for this ad nauseum but if you want to know more, let me know and I will be happy to share more.).  Julie Tanner for School Board.  Laura Belnap for State School board.  Bob Stevenson for County Commissioner seat 1.  I’ve researched the other contested elections for my area and don’t think those that are challenging the incumbent are ready to step into the roles they are running for so I will be voting for the incumbents.
One last thing I want to mention.  At a meet the candidate night I attended, Dawn Nunn (a candidate for district 17) made a comment that really stuck with me.  She said that she is running because there are not enough people that look like her representing us in Utah.  That thought has resonated with me over the last month and I want to pass it on to you.  As you vote, I hope you will challenge your own biases about what a legislator, congress person, commissioner, school board member, etc. should look like.  Boyd Matheson (the opinion editor for the Deseret News) host a great podcast episode delving into women in leadership.  This discussion lent itself to analyzing how having men and women at the table can change the outcomes for the better.  Give it a listen and give some thought to how we can bring the best balance to our communities, state and nation.

Meet the Candidate and Debate Links: