Anonymous asks, "Do you prefer to live in Kentucky where it doesn't matter how you vote or Ohio where everyone is telling you how to vote?"
This is, of course, a very timely and important topic here in The Biggest And Most Important Swing State In The History Of Elections, where polls have the main two candidates in a statistical dead heat (or at least they did last time I looked at the front page of the paper).
The advertising blitz is just astounding. I have honestly never seen anything like it, and it's not like this is the first election I've seen in the state. I haven't even gotten the worst of it, since I hardly ever listen to commercial radio or watch anything other than the Discovery Channel. But when Jason's mother was visiting we watched some daytime television and the nightly news, and my god, the volume of advertisements was incredible. Not just for the presidential election, of course - there were probably more ads for and against ballot issues than there were for actual candidates. I swear I can recite the ads against the casino by heart, and that was after only a week of exposure.
Every day there's a whole mess of political ads in the mailbox, and the phone calls and door-to-door visits are getting ludicrously common. I swear, the Obama campaign has so much money to spend on ads that I wouldn't be too surprised to see a stack of 50s in my mailbox tomorrow with a "Vote for Change" sticker on the band. My favorite has to be the poor Democratic canvasser who was going around on Halloween night. By the time she got to our house, it was so dark she had a hard time seeing her clipboard, so I took pity on her and gave her one of the glowsticks from our goodie bags so she could see what she was doing. Shame I couldn't answer her questions about who Jason voted for ... he was so undecided about the presidential race that I think he flipped a coin before sealing the envelope on his absentee ballot.
At this point all of the advertising and signs and mailings and last-minute revelations are falling on deaf ears, anyway, since Jason and I both filed absentee ballots this year. Originally Jason was supposed to be out of town on business on election day, and the thought of standing in line for two hours with a 3-year-old so that I can vote is just too depressing for words, so the absentee ballots were a great option. They went in the mail early last week, so the time for us to be swayed is long past.
Jason is sort of the Model Citizen, using a week of his free time in the evenings researching all the candidates on the ballot, reading their responses to the newspaper's questions, etc. He votes based on how well each candidate agree with his views, which is what you're supposed to do, right? My only quibble is that if a candidate doesn't answer the questions, Jason refuses to vote for them ... even if they are running unopposed and have no real need to persuade voters with their responses. Seems a bit arbitrary after all that other research, but hey - that's his right.
I, on the other hand, am the reason there's an electoral college. I vote based on whether the party to which a candidate belongs agrees with me on the one or two issues I actually care about. I figure that the chances of any of the other issues actually making a difference in my life is so small, I don't really care what the candidates believe about them. For races where the candidates don't have a party affiliation (we've got lots of elected judges around here ... like a whole page of the ballot worth), I vote for the woman. If there isn't a woman in the race, I don't vote on that position at all.
Arbitrary? Heck, yes. Uninformed? Heck, yes. I guess I'm so jaded about the chances of any of the candidates actually making much of a difference that I just don't really care who gets elected. But on the positive side of things, it makes election season soooo much easier when you don't actually have to listen to all the crap the politicians and advertisers hand out and can just get on with watching Time Warp. People who actually care about this stuff have it so much harder than I do. Wheeeee!