Underplaying Ballot Propositions

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Ballotpedia is a source of information about ballots. (Screen capture)

Why we need to pay more attention at election time

The recently held off-year elections, Tuesday, Nov. 2, had its share of propositions. These are state-specific ballot measures that often cover a wide range of social and economic issues that have lasting effects on communities. This is why it baffles me that hardly any mention is made about such propositions during election campaigns.

This year’s elections included five proposed changes to the state constitution and gave New York voters a chance to participate in such decisions: Proposition # 1 involved Redistricting: redrawing the boundaries of Congressional and state legislative districts; #2 Environmental Rights: each person having the right to clean air and water and a healthful environment; # 3 and 4 Elections and Voting: aimed at changing rules to allow easier access to the polls; and # 5 Civil Court Claim: Claims totaling $50,000 or less will be heard by NYC Civil Court rather than the state Supreme Court.

So many of my friends and colleagues have told me that they did not vote for these propositions, because either they did not know enough about them or only knew about them when they saw the instructions to turn the ballot over. Campaign official need to do a better job at informing the public via their various means of advertising prior to election day instead of focusing solely on the candidates because candidates come and go but propositions of such nature have more of an effect on communities than one realizes.

Another thing that had me baffled during this election campaign was when my wife brought to my attention, a flier she received in the mail captioned in bold letters, “Your Voting History.” It stressed that she was a below average voter compared to other voters and detailed the rating scale where excellent is accorded three stars and good two stars; her rating was below average. I’m not sure what is the intent of such strategy, whether it has been proven to have positive results, or it’s a deliberate and callous act at vote shaming.

I am aware that one’s voting history is a public record but trying to embarrass people into voting is not my cup of tea. I’m just concerned about what the next step might be; sending text messages to voters without their consent?

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