I found myself a little intimidated at the thought of voting this year. The past year or so has been marked by a huge impending shake-up of our local school systems. A political move was made to combine the urban and suburban schools, and the suburban areas responded with a bid to create smaller, independent municipal districts. The final outcome is still probably years away, as there is a slate of court cases looming.
My municipality went ahead with school board elections, and I found myself in the strange position of trying to select able, well-intentioned, and balanced board members from a list of names that I did not know. I’m not sure why this election has bothered me more than past elections. Perhaps it is the polarization of our country to political factions, perhaps this election just seemed closer to home. In the past, I was content with voting by party lines according to the party that most closely aligns with my ideals. This time, I wanted to research the candidates and make my own decisions.
I have always been overwhelmed by the political ads, disappointed by the amount of negativity spread on all sides, and stymied in my search for a solution. This year, I downloaded a sample ballot and looked for the website of each candidate. I decided to simply look at what each candidate was brave enough to publicly stand behind and for. Interestingly, I felt comfortable assessing which candidates seemed to have good intentions but were just spouting off feel-good phrases and buzz words. I actually made notes as I picked my candidates.
I have voted my conscience, and I feel good. I can’t guarantee that the people I selected will lead the way I hope, but I can at least say that I put effort into this election and did my best as a citizen of the United States of America.