• Title: Ethics of voting
  • Author: Scott Boehme (East Lansing, Michigan)
  • Date: 11/01/2011
  • Additional Categories: Recent Essays, Scott Boehme

Ethics of voting

Another election cycle is upon us. East Lansing City Council has three seats open for either re-electing the same people or bringing forth some change with new blood added to to the mix. East Lansing School District is also voting to fill some school boards seats.

I am qualified and received an absentee ballot. I have voted and mailed in my ballot. Voting for me is a very serious responsibility. That responsibility is to learn about the candidates, then vote. If you don't know, don't vote. Please do not vote if you do not know. This is a two-step process, learn about the candidate and then vote. The first step must be made with earnest or you are best not to vote.

Which individuals who are allowed to vote do not bother me if they are legitimate citizens of these United States and community of residency. I don't even mind if cemeteries are canvassed for voters with this one important caveat, they are allowed to vote their own minds.

We have had in East Lansing some strong concerns about actions of the City Council. Phil Bellfy and Eliot Singer have brought forward legitimate issues about the use of city resources being wisely used and whether illegal steps were taken by city officials. Others have commented upon the comments.

It is my belief that the majority of people on City Council are trying to do a good job. What is happening is that City officials are overwhelming council so as to have them vote the agenda place before them. There is just too much information to process and therefore the default position is to agree with the people who are more informed. I believe for some of the council this is the problem. The second major concern I have is that this council is of like minds or believe as one in public discussions. Honest public debate is as important as learning about the candidates and then voting.

If it is honest debate without bringing in personalities, so what if someone disagrees with your position. So what if you make a mistake on a fact and have it corrected. I have had many of the things I have said corrected, most because of in re-editing my words I accidentally get the cart before the horse.

If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. I want to be corrected if I have a wrong piece of fact or my opinion failed to take in a piece of information. Tell me. I glory in it.

I have never felt comfortable with any group of like-minded people which have any decision making authority. It does not mean that similar goals are not a commonality, but how the issues are addressed should be with differences to be worked out, not a mutually common bobbing head of agreement.

Within Public Response, individuals of some expertise have demonstrated concerns, legitimate concerns. The former City Manager Ted Staton gave only token efforts addressing these issues and created purposefully or by incompetence roadblocks and blind alleys so many diversions as to muddle the efforts of these individuals as they question procedures, actions, and authority. In these instances claims of improprieties have been charged in all these areas.

To any students of Michigan State University and surrounding colleges who are voting, learn the facts. This means more than getting a flier sent to you or attending a party or rally. Worse yet, listening to people who have an agenda which may not be similar to your own. Look at the history of the people running for office read their position papers and other sources of information. Then look to see who is the most honest candidate.

To me an honest candidate does what they say they will do, unless legitimate additional information is presented which will effect the decisions. Also, a candidate should not be out to create situations where the populace should be awake and following meetings to find out if the citizens have been sold out to the highest bidder. Allowing the citizenry a peaceful night's sleep should be an important consideration.

As a student, if you see a major push for a candidate, assume that the political machinery is in action creating a misinformed campaign to elect the candidate. Instead of listening to these people, make up your own mind after finding out by yourself as much as possible. Being a student will probably mean you may not know much about the candidates. The bubble head spouting off about a candidate has only been brainwashed, in most instances, and in fact knows less about who would be the better candidate than you do. Ignore the political engines and make your own decisions.

As I have said, I have already voted. It shocked me that I failed my due diligence. I did not recognize a single name for any of the candidates for East Lansing School board. I had heard nothing. The majority of this lapse is do to my negligence. Some is also by the School's. Yet, it comes down to the same type of machinery in play. They would rather not let anyone know who is running and have us vote wrong, by their standards. The hope is that polls will be stampeded with their candidate's supporters and suppress the efforts of any opposition.

There are many forums to get a message out to people. Public Response is an excellent example of being allowed a fair expression of your views. In fact this forum is the fairest of them all for allowing a free voice within realms of decency.

Our candidates still have an opportunity to independently state their views and positions by posting a comment here at Public Response.

The debate starts here. Let us remember millions of Americans have died to keep this process in place do not let their sacrifice and the sacrifice made by their families go in vain.

So to paraphrase a common practice in construction think twice; vote once.