I like to think of myself as a well-informed voter, but there’s always something on the ballot that flummoxes me.
Primary day’s flummoxing moment came when I realized I was supposed to weigh in on the five-way race for Albany County coroner.
I scanned the list of candidates, wondering who they were and what made them qualified for the job. It was like staring at an especially confounding math problem and hoping the answer would suddenly pop into my head, and after a few moments I gave up. Rather than cast the most uninformed vote of my life, I left the entire section blank.
There was more to my decision than ignorance.
I’m also of the opinion that the job of county coroner shouldn’t be subject to a vote.
The vast majority of voters have no way of assessing a candidate’s qualification for county coroner — for knowing whether the incumbents are doing a good job, or whether someone else might be better.
The same is true, I suspect, for a number of other elected positions, such as county sheriff or city judge. Most voters have only the vaguest inkling of who these people are, much less what they do or whether they’re good at it.
At a time when only a sliver of eligible voters can be bothered to take an interest in high-profile mayoral and city council races, it’s worth asking whether it’s time to rethink voting for some of the more obscure local positions.
Primary day turnout was low, as usual, but the low turnout only confirmed what I’ve always thought, which is that it makes sense to vote, because your vote really can make a difference at the local level.
It doesn’t necessarily take…
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