Caption: The voting booth and lengthy 4 page/85 question ballot. Me and my Challenge Detroit Colleague Bithiah Lee pointing to our “Did you Vote Today? I did!” stickers. 85 questions makes it feel like a true accomplishment.
Observed in Michigan: An unbelievably long ballot, I had to fill in a total of 85 ovals. Astonishing for me after coming from the northeast which does not have a tradition of Governing via the ballot. Governing via the ballot (another form of governing from the gut) is not necessarily the most efficient or effective way to govern, as California has found the hard way at times. There is a reason why we have a representative democracy and not a direct democracy in a nation of over 300 million people. In case you were wondering, 6 of those 85 circles were for statewide ballot initiatives (5 to amend the constitution, 1 as a referendum on a recently passed law), 6 county ballot initiatives, and 6 City of Detroit ballot initiatives. We even voted on the Wayne State University Board of Governors, also the Members of both the Michigan State University Board of Trustees and the University of Michigan Board of Regents plus the State Board of Education. I’m not convinced the general public is the right body to be choosing those most highly qualified for these positions. Here’s how NYS does it.
Also observed in Michigan: one of the best websites I have ever encountered for agglomerating all the of the things you need to know for each and every checkmark into one place – from video assessments by nonpartisan think tanks, to newspaper endorsements to official websites and official voter guides written in the candidate’s own words. Something that should be replicated everywhere. Feel free to type my name in on the home page and see what my ballot looked like: http://www.publius.org/