Well, it’s time once again to place our marks onto ballots and pretend that it actually makes a difference. The most important point to remember is that sometimes not making any mark at all makes the biggest difference.
Let’s get the easy one out of the way first:
US Senate: Mike Beitler. The only other choices are Richard Burr, who’s less fiscally conservative than Bill Clinton, and Elaine Marshall, who seems to think that printing more money will somehow work all of a sudden. Beitler, on the other hand, is truly for smaller government, including bringing our troops home and ending senseless, expensive, and failed policies like the War on Drugs. No contest.
US House: None. Let’s face it, it’s between Patrick McHenry–another pesudoconservative–and Jeff Gregory, who thinks that we can solve everything with magical tax cuts and not have to worry about cutting spending to match (also, worst website ever!).
Constitutional Amendment: Is it just me, or does anyone else think they should publish the exact text of the amendment on the ballot? Anyway, here it is. This is a bad idea for several reasons:
First, North Carolina has a lot of dumb laws on the books, making it illegal to do things like give someone an alcoholic beverage in a room where people are pretending to gamble (NCGS § 14-293) or stealing pine needles (NCGS § 14-79.1).
Second, a lot of people commit felonies when they’re young and make mistakes. Many of them develop into good, honorable people despite–and in some cases even because of–these mistakes.
The very concept of a system of individual liberty means that someone should have their full rights restored upon completion of their sentence. All of them. Including the right to seek public office, even sheriff.
A candidate’s background–including his criminal record–comes into play when running for office. The voters can certainly decide to reject a candidate because of his criminal record. (And if their choice is diminished in this, it can only be because of North Carolina’s hideously restrictive ballot access and election system.)
It’s also interesting that this is confined to the office of sheriff, and not (say) to County Commissioners or state legislators. How many legislators would we no longer have if this were the case? (I’ll refrain from making a crack about Commissioner candidate Loy Dellinger. His case was most likely a bad rap–which actually supports my points here, anyway.)
What it all boils down to is, I’m voting against the Constitutional amendment.
State and local offices below the fold.
I’m going to skip the Soviet-style elections outright this time. Just imagine that I’ve said something witty and clever about each of them and compared them to either a Soviet Premier or the dictator of a banana republic.
Lincoln County Commissioner: Tough one. As I mentioned last time, I’m hesitant to vote for any more Dellingers, and anyone who openly admits to not even knowing how to use email in this day and age pretty much admits to not being able to run the county. As for Richardson, the Unified Development Ordinance doesn’t need to be “tweaked”–it needs to be eliminated. Plus, he–like Dellinger–supports districting. Klein approved the Unified Development Ordinance as well as impact fees, and, in fact, lists these on his websites under “Accomplishments.” And Carl Robinson supports districting, and thinks that getting even more people to hook up to an already-strained water system will somehow make it cheaper and more efficient. Given four bad choices, I’ll vote for none every time.
Register of Deeds: No reason not to go with Elaine Harmon again.
Sheriff: David M. Carpenter won the Republican nomination by virtue of his years of experience as a police officer and his promise to make the necessary changes to the sheriff’s office. Terry Burgin won the Democratic nomination by virtue of the fact that he’s not Tim Daugherty. While I think either of them would put an end to the scandals the sheriff’s office has been plagued with under Daugherty, I think Carpenter gets the edge here.
Supreme Court Associate Justice: While Bob Hunter pays enough lip service to the Constitution, Barbara Jackson has a better record backing her up. She’s my pick.
Court of Appeals: Ann Marie Calabria understands that both the US and NC Constitutions establish governments of limited powers. That’s more than can probably be said for Jane Gray, who has received nominations from teacher’s unions and law enforcement groups. I’m going with Calabria.
Court Of Appeals II: Electric Boogaloo: While Steven Walker has made no bones about being a strict constructionist, the most Rick Elmore has said is that there is “no place for judicial activism.” Can anyone point me to a judge who has said, “Yes, sure, we should be judicial activists”? I’m voting for Walker.
Court of Appeals III: Return of the Thing: This one is between Martha Greer, who has bragged about decisions “involving businesses critical to our state’s economy” (and how critical they are to our economy should have nothing to do with judicial decisions), and Dean Poirier, who, as I pointed out last time, is a strict Constitutionalist. Poirier for me.
Superior Court Judge: I haven’t been able to find anything about either candidate. Neither one has a website, nor have they responded to any candidate surveys that I’ve looked at. Ya don’t wants my vote, ya don’t gets it. None.
Board of Education: Catawba Springs: Bob Silvers told the School Board, “It had been stated by certain board members that [superintendent] Dr. [David] Martin’s particular style of leadership had not been received well…I think you got it backwards. It is you that haven’t been well received.” The most I can find out about Karen Johnson Bolick is that she once put a cross made of icing on a cake in a church. I’m voting for Bob.
Board of Education: Howards Creek: Well, there’s no way I can vote for Joan Avery, and anyone who’s been paying attention to the school board scandal knows why. Unfortunately, Clayton Mullis is as short on definitive positions as he was when he ran for County Commissioner two years ago. None, I guess.
Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor: Information on these candidates appears to be harder to find than Bigfoot taking an out-of-focus picture of the Loch Ness Monster. So, none.
Court of Appeals Judge: Okay, guys, this is not how you do Instant Runoff Voting! There are 13 candidates, but you only get to rank three. What this means is that, if none of your three candidates survive to the end, you end up having no say whatsoever in the final result! You also can’t state an equal preference (unlike Range Voting or the Condorcet Method), because it will invalidate your vote.
Okay, my first choice is the good constructionist Jewel Ann Farlow, with the good constructionist Cressie Thigpen in second (actually, I could have done these two in either order, since they’re equally good, but IRV doesn’t allow that). For my third choice, I’d have to go with Pamela M. Vesper for her comments that judicial interpretations shouldn’t be too broad, and she criticized the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision on that basis. My fourth choice, were I allowed one (and with proper IRV I would be), would have been J. Wesley Casteen, who praised the recent Supreme Court decision confirming the individual’s right to keep and bear arms. The rest of the judges were so vague and wishy-washy in their comments as to be indistinguishable from one another.