The political parties have had their nominating conventions and produced no surprises. The Democrats nominated President Barack Obama for a second term. The Republicans chose Mitt Romney as their presidential candidate. Both parties also adopted election platforms – statements of what they believe and what they would do if in power. We are being inundated with political advertisements.
But none of these sources provides the information citizens need to decide how to vote. The conventions are political theater – pep rallies designed to convince viewers their candidate is wonderful and worthy of support. Platforms are not good indicators of what candidates will do if elected. Successful candidates traditionally try to implement the portions of their party’s platform they like and ignore the other parts. Many of the political ads we see are sponsored by entities that claim to be independent of the candidates they support. Those who make the ads seem to be more concerned with their effectiveness than with their truth.
The presidential debates may be helpful to someone trying to determine which candidate to support. The first one is scheduled for October 3. Previous experience, however, suggests that they are likely only to allow viewers to re-confirm conclusions they have reached earlier.
Here in Howard County, Maryland the presidential contest will be only one of many on the ballot. Maryland voters will be electing a U.S. senator and their representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition, we will vote for many local offices and there will be questions on the ballot concerning authorization of an additional casino in the state and the DREAM act that allows undocumented aliens who arrived in the U.S. as children to pay in-state tuition at Maryland colleges and universities if they meet certain conditions.
Our ballot this year will be a long one. The board of elections will mail sample ballots to registered voters the weeks of October 20 and October 27. Hopefully, they will help us to prepare to vote. But, some early voters may get to the polls before they receive them. Early voting in Howard County will take place October 27 – 31 and November 1.
Where can Howard County voters find good information to use in determining how to vote? Future articles will contain suggested answers to that important question.