Not voting today? Post your reasons here
Joe Mathews, an occasional contributor to our Op-Ed pages who writes on state politics, offers some expert advice to election-fatigued Californians: Don't vote.
Don’t the ballot initiatives offer some promise? No, only peril. Even the well-intentioned measures are doomed — in the same way that building a good-looking addition on a house doesn’t help when the entire structure sits on toxic soil. Legislative elections? You must be kidding. The state’s election system makes it impossible to change the party in charge of the Legislature. So the results Tuesday are already known: Democrats will control the Legislature, in the same numbers as before....
The most civic-minded thing Californians might do Tuesday is devote the hour they would have spent voting to learning more about how their state works and how they might participate in larger reform. There are a host of websites that provide information in this area, among them California Choices and RethinkCali, the latter an effort to rewrite the state constitution wiki style.
Elections are not cures, but curses, embedding the existing system more deeply in the life of the state. Each new elected official seeks to build upon an existing system (with new laws and regulations) rendered more broken by each new ballot initiative. Enough already: Let’s be done with the attempt to march our way out of quicksand. I am staying home for a change.
Click here to read Mathews' whole piece, posted on zocalopublicsquare.org.
The civic-minded among us may be bubbling with rage at Mathews' new-found contempt for electoral politics in California, perhaps even fighting the urge to hurl platitudes about soldiers' sacrifices and patriotic duties. But he has a point: What good will electing new leaders do in a state rendered practically ungovernable by voter-approved laws?
As someone who's roughly 65% sure he'll show up at the polls later Tuesday, I'm tempted to go further: For those whose political persuasions fall outside the convenient Republican-Democrat dichotomy, what's the point of endorsing positions in any election that may not reflect our actual wishes? This is not to encourage anyone to avoid voting, but it's a question with which this decline-to-state voter must answer -- or at least ignore -- each election day.
Those who exercise their right to stay home on election day are often told that their political opinions are worthless. So in the interest of giving the self-disenfranchised a seat at the table of democracy, post your reasons for why you won't vote (or didn't, for our post-8 p.m. readers) as a comment below. Feel free to also share your views on politics broadly and this election's crop of candidates and initiatives specifically.
-- Paul Thornton