Voter guides are not created equal. As Election Day nears our mailboxes become increasingly stuffed with candidate ads, slick slanderous mailers, political magazines and voter guides. Some of these pieces are as pretty as a bird, while others are as useful as a plane. However, it is important to know which to fly to the polls with. The onslaught of glossy verbal jargon before Election Day is capable of befuddling the keenest voter. How on earth is the innocent, well-meaning person not to accidentally vote the wrong contender into office?
First let’s cover how NOT to vote.
There is the unfortunate “I recognize this name” approach. Studies show that a high percentage of people vote for a familiar name. Voter Beware. Just because someone is spending tens of thousands of dollars for your vote, does not mean he/she should get it. Know your candidates. It may be that the conservative office-seeker for you simply does not have the funds to spend tens of thousands of dollars, but would best represent you in Austin. In this case, help the candidate by volunteering. Most people appreciate a grassroots approach over a mailer any day. Beware of knowing the name, but not the character of your contender. Much money does not equal the best candidate for the job. Choose wisely.
The next mistake is:
“How nice, someone sent me voter guide. Now I don’t have to think” approach. Beautiful. Just Beautiful. We are probably each guilty of this one at one time. I’m sure that is how our house of representatives wound up in such a mess. All voter guides are not created equal. Each guide has a motive behind it. It is important to know the source of your voter guide and their agenda.
The Tea Party Voter Guides- The Tea Party is a movement made up of millions of Americans from all political parties. The movement is about reforming political parties, not about forming another one. Tea Partiers in general are for:
• Limited federal government
• Individual freedoms
• Personal responsibility
• Free markets
• Returning political power to the states and the people
However, since it is a conglomeration of parties, a variety of moral and political views will be represented on a Tea Party Voter Guide. If traditional values and pro-life are important to you, then voter beware. I discovered this while at the early voting polls last week. Some one representing the “Tea Party” handed me a sample ballot with their Tea Party choices checked off. I was shocked to see their choice candidates. Be educated on the contenders before using one of these guides.
Real-estate Voter Guides: The Real-estate business will choose candidates that will keep the property values high. This is good, right? Yes, but with a little thought you may find that your vote considers other issues more important. Know where the real-estate company stands on pro-life, the sanctity of marriage, the second amendment and other pressing issues before taking this one into the polls.
Texas Home School Coalition- This PAC has each candidate fill out an extensive questionnaire on the issues. THSC values the constitution; limited government, parental rights, freedom in education and other conservative views. Not to mention a long standing good reputation.
Texas Right to Life- This is a very reputable conservative PAC that will value life over school or property rights. One must have life first before one can worry about school or property. It makes sense to me.
In summary about the guides: know the publisher and their pressing issues. You may ultimately choose some candidates from one guide and others from another as you consider the issues at stake. There is no perfect voter guide. Remember the Word of God is the only infallible resource, so seek the Author as you choose your candidates in this Primary.
Two more thoughts before I close.
Political Magazines: Be careful. These can be full of “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” politics. Ad space can be purchased by a candidate and used for slandering or endorsing. Know the publisher. If you KNOW and trust the candidate that publishes the magazine and your views line up, then you should be able to safely take their recommendations. But don’t let a title fool you. Texas is a conservative state. The only way a liberal can get into office in Texas is by hiding behind conservative lingo. “Texans for Fiscal Accountability” is a liberal group trying to pass themselves off as the true conservative PAC “Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.” Beware of new PAC groups. Texas has many tried and true PACs. Stay informed. Be wise. Don’t believe everything you read. Now that I’ve made the voting process clear as mud: GO VOTE!
Questionnaires: Candidates (should) spend hours answering questionnaires. Many of the answers are published for the reader to decide. I like this approach because is reveals small differences in views that a grade does not. Heritage Alliance is a trustworthy site that grades the candidate and publishes the answered questionnaires. If you put the curser over “show details” next to your candidate you are reviewing the answers will be shown. http://www.heritagealliance.com/ This is a great resource and easy to use. I hope this helps.
Fly to the Polls with Confidence, Voter.