17 October 2004
Who's paying for this microphone?
In every election in my life I've been less informed about local candidates than those running for state and national offices. President, governor, senator, congressman, yes, I know who they are and which party they belong to. When it comes to local offices, I'm lost. The election approaches and there are names in television commercials that I've never heard. People running for judge, county commissioner, school board, dogcatcher, coroner, and they are all strangers to me. Not only that but, in many cases, you aren't given a clue as to which political party they belong to. On a local level, party affiliation is often hidden.
Sometimes there's a reason for this officially, the election of a Mayor in Oklahoma City is nonpartisan, and judges here tend to be on a retention ballot but I'm guessing that generally, it's an attempt to get some name recognition before you actually see the ballot and the straight-ticket option (where available).
There is, of course, a solution:
[C]ruise through your community's neighborhoods and look at the signs. If you want to know if Mr. Pick-A-Name is Democrat or Republican, just look at what his sign is placed next to. It doesn't take a lot of effort. Sometime between now and November 2nd, drive around town with a pad of paper. You'll easily be able to figure out who's for Kerry/Edwards and who's for Bush/Cheney. The adjacent signs you'll see are all the local politicians who don't like the voters to know which party brung them.
This does seem to work: I have yet to see any yards with split tickets. Perhaps the people who do cross party lines are less inclined to put up yard signs in the first place. On the other hand, I'm tempted to go offer space to some minor GOP candidate to contrast with the Democratic sign I already have.
(Update, 11:10 am: Then there's this.)