The PoliBlog

The Collective
Tuesday, June 3, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

From my little corner of AL03, there wasn’t much going on. I voted at about 12:50 and at that point there had been about 200 voters who had participated to that point.1 There really isn’t anything going on on the ballot in my slice of the state, unlike in AL02 and AL05, where there are open congressional seats.

I must confess that I was briefly tempted to forgo the process today, as I lacked a strong opinion in the handful of races at my disposal. Further, the likelihood is huge that the incumbents will be renominated (I mostly voted challenger, just to be difficult, if anything), so the outcomes are not especially mysterious. Still, there is something so fundamental (and special) about the right to vote, that I had to go.

Of course, as the Montgomery Advertiser noted this morning, the odds are that most people will not be swept up by the romance of democracy and the ballot and opt out: Low turnout expected at polls today.

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  1. We use optical scan ballots, and the ballot boxes (there were two) have a digital readout that shows the number of ballots deposited. I was the 83rd to use my ballot box, while the other had had about 120. []
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    1. Heh - come on, how can a polysci professor not vote? ;)

      Glad that we finally are done voting for the primaries. This is getting really old.

      Comment by B. Minich — Tuesday, June 3, 2024 @ 2:48 pm

    2. You know, the tiny local offices - like Clerk of Superior Court - are actually things that I pay more attention to and care more about voting in than the big national elections.

      I have several reasons for this. First, in a small town, these people have more direct impact on my life than the folks in Washington.

      Second, they are far more accessible and responsive to my complaints.

      Third, living in a deeply red state, I know it doesn’t really matter too much whether I vote in the national elections or not, but the local elections - my vote can actually make a difference.

      Fourth, when only a couple of hundred people turn out to vote, I know my vote means a lot more.

      It’s actually more important to me to vote on who the next mayor of my town is than to vote on who the president is.

      Comment by Captain D — Tuesday, June 3, 2024 @ 3:09 pm

    3. Here’s how I decided not to vote in this primary:

      I’m a big fan of primary voting, since I figure that’s when individual voters have the most say in the political process. I never miss a primary, unless I’m out of the country or some such thing.

      I saw the slate of people running, and thought, “OK, now to figure out who to vote for.” I went online trying to find their positions on issues.

      An hour later, I knew little more. The campaign websites were so vague on the issues that they could have been statements for any candidate of any ideological stripe. Take Harri Anne Smith on the economy:

      “All the news and many indicators point to the fact of a slowing American economy. We are pressured by the fast-growing economies of Asia and our own internal crises. For America to remain a superpower and the leader of the free world, it is important that we remain the economic powerhouse we have been known as over the past decades.”

      Wow, we want to remain an economic powerhouse? That IS a bold position on the economy! Someone call the Dothan Eagle! /sarcasm off

      I was getting pretty frustrated, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was a phone call from Smith’s campaign (I’m picking on Smith for these two examples, but the others weren’t much better).

      Me: Hello?
      Campaign Volunteer: Hello, I’m calling on behalf of Harri Anne Smith. [brief empty blather] Can Harri Anne count on your support in helping her fight the immense issues we face today?
      Me: What immense issues?
      CV: Um, what?
      Me: You talked about immense issues. Like what?
      CV: Like, whatever issues you’re concerned about.
      Me: Well, can you just give me an example of her position on an issue?
      CV: Um…
      Me: OK, well, name one of these immense issues.
      CV: How about the economy?
      Me: Perfect! OK, what is her position on the economy?
      CV: Uh … I really don’t have that information here…
      Me: *sighing* Well, what about another issue. Can you tell me her position on another issue?
      CV: Um, I really don’t know.
      Me: Any issue?
      CV: Um…

      That was when I decided not to vote in the primary. I might as well pick a random name out of the phone book — Wm. Buckley’s famous “first 400 people in the Boston telephone directory.”

      Comment by Richard Scott Nokes — Tuesday, June 3, 2024 @ 3:36 pm

    4. Having seen the AL02 candidates live and in person, I will confess that the pickins were slim. Still, that would have been a lot more interesting than the ballot I had to deal with.

      Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Tuesday, June 3, 2024 @ 8:56 pm

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