Today may not be a glamorous Presidential election, but who your town councilmembers are can matter more to you on a day-to-day basis than what's going on in Washington.
Your mayor will have more say on if you can walk your dog off-leash or if there should be overnight parking (controversial topics!) than your Senator. Your school board members will decide whether your kid will continue to have art classes or if they'll have three fewer school days next year.
Voting is straight-forward. Use marinvotes.org to look up your polling place.
But, voting isn't easy. It's a responsibility you shouldn't cast (hah, pun) aside too lightly. Too often we encourage people to vote no matter what, vote without knowing the facts, just get out there and vote. We push youth to Rock the Vote with MTV concerts and PSAs featuring Madonna. But, no PSA features a detailed analysis of pension costs and healthcare reform.
We would never tell someone that it's ok they don't know how to fix cars, what's important is just to get out there and try. And our car can't mess things up for a whole town, county, state or country.
So, don't be that guy. Use our to get to know the candidates and measures. Watch the debates -- you have time; the polls are open until 8 p.m. And, then, and only then, make a decision.
I don't know which decisions you'll make or why. You'll probably say (just like I'll say about my decisions) that it's based on the facts. But, more likely, our votes will be based on beliefs and values and personalities and also facts. And, that's fine; most of the decisions we make about everything every day are a result of our beliefs and values and histories and feelings.
But, the campaign managers know that. They send those mailers to our houses arguing that if we don't vote for their guy our house will be broken into, because it works. They hope we will just vote on those feelings -- and not actually look up crime statistics.
Look up statistics. Read. Know why you're casting your vote the way you are - whatever that reason is. Then, go and vote!
Check back on Patch later today for live election results after 8 p.m. and for stories on the new council members and school board trustees.
Have you voted yet today? Who do you think will win? Who are you voting for? Why?