Happy Election Day!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Depending upon a journalist's specific 'beat', type of reporting, or medium of communication, election days can be one of their busiest of the entire year.  Today, many hours of national and local coverage on television and radio outlets will be dedicated to analyzing exit polls prior to the end of the assigned voting periods, and all will try to be the first to announce these results once they are officially determined.  I work most evenings so I will have to rely upon another media venue, the internet, to keep apprised of the electoral goings-on.

2011 does not play host to a presidential or other federal contests but there are still plenty of state and local races and issues that require ballot input from the voters as mandated by the various constitutions and other governing charters throughout the country.  While primaries are held throughout the year, the November general elections are held on the same day (the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November--it can fluctuate between the 2nd through the 8th) and serve as a national civics exercise to put our democratic principles on display for the rest of the world to see and critique.  By paper ballot, punch card, or touch screen, we are given the chance to have our voices heard and through several amendments to the US Constitution (the 14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, 24th and 26th--the original document and the Bill of Rights make no direct mentions of citizens casting votes, just 'electors'), a greater number of Americans now enjoy this most valuable privilege of citizenship.

In Ohio, there are several statewide issues on the ballot and one of these--the approval or rejection of a state senate bill restricting collective bargaining rights of public employees--is drawing attention from all across the country.   The 'yes' supporters believe that this measure helps the state control spending and increases the chances of keeping government spending under control.  Those in the 'no' camp think that this hastily passed legislation is an attack on labor unions and will allow state officials to 'micromanage' activities that are best handled at the local level or with the affected employees themselves.  Current polling has the rejection side ahead but, as the popular saying goes, "the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day".  Whatever the outcome of this referendum, the fight will surely continue in the Statehouse over the coming months.

Many journalists eschew this privilege of citizenship in order to avoid the perception of bias in their reporting if their party affiliation were to be made public.  While I admire their stance, I cannot abide by that self-imposed censorship measure when I have as much right as any other citizen to have my opinions added to the collective decision.  The challenge that I will face in my future works will be in identifying my preconceived notions concerning my subject and augmenting them with differing perspectives in order to let my readers have the most objective articles that can be produced.  With over half a century of life under my belt and plenty of opinions firmly established, that is going to require a lot of work on my part.

I took advantage of 'early' voting in my community so I know that my vote is already in the system.  If you are a registered voter and have not visited your assigned polling place, I would suggest that you do so as soon as possible.  If you need some motivation, serve this quote to memory:

The future of this republic is in the hands of the American voter. ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

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