Don’t Vote This Tuesday!

Why bother voting on Election Day?

It’s an off-year election.  Local races never matter.

Right?

  • Everyone knows the budget gets set in back-room negotiations.
  • The Board of Ed will make the same decisions about curriculum, classroom sizes, start times, standardized tests, salaries and everything else no matter who’s on it.
  • Nothing the P&Z says will stop developers and homeowners from doing what they want.
  • WTF is the RTM?

So definitely, don’t vote on Tuesday.  Far better to stay home.

And use the time writing letters to the editor (and emailing “06880”) complaining about everything that’s wrong with our elected officials.

Whether we vote or not, Westport will still be a lovely, leafy suburban community. Or an ugly, overbuilt town. (Photo/FromtheAir.com)

34 responses to “Don’t Vote This Tuesday!

  1. By voting it gives us the RIGHT to comment and express our pleasure or displeasure with our state, local and federal governments. In Westport we will be faced with some serious issues concerning our pension liabilities, zoning issues and general budget cuts. This actually is a very important local election. For years we have continued to neglect our future pension liabilities and now the pain is coming and leaving the taxpayer as the sole solution to union contracts which simply can’t be fully funded under the current compensation system is not the answer. Voting is important, and everyone eligible should exercise this constitutional right.

  2. John McCarthy

    Not going to be in town on Tuesday during voting hours? The Town Clerk’s office is open today (Saturday) for Absentee Ballots from 9-noon.

    http://www.westportct.gov/index.aspx?page=35&recordid=495&returnURL=%2findex.aspx

  3. You make a convincing argument NOT to vote. I am sure the majority of voters here will follow your advice. They would rather vote for “American Idol” or “Dancing With the Stars” or spend their time reading about Kim’s divorce or Justin’s baby or catching up on Rex’s latest fetish. To others, they are resigned to the fact that it just doesn’t matter who is in office. I wonder how they would ever get that idea?

  4. The reality is Westporters can influence how our town is managed, by going to the polls!. “What works is cooperation, not conflict”.

  5. One of the great paradoxes of voter turnout – your vote really has the best chance of making a difference in local elections, and yet voter turnout is lowest when (as is the case on November 8th) we have nothing but a local election occurring. But the local issues are stark and real – at the Board of Finance, the Board of Education, and certainly at the Planning & Zoning Commission – and there is a real possibility for effecting a change that will be felt (if that is what the voters want). The group of regular posters here are especially passionate and vocal on local issues; I can’t imagine a group that should be more inclined to vote on November 8th. Whether you do so out of a sense of civic duty, or appreciation of the impact your vote has, or because voting is what gives you the right to complain or support what is going on, please take a moment and visit your polling place this coming Tuesday.

  6. Arthur Champlin, Esq.

    Many studies have been done on voting behavior with barely 50% doing so in a national election and as low as 28% in local elections. Analysts have broken it down as to race, creed, religion, sex, education and age. Lack of knowledge of the candidates and outright apathy have been prominent factors across the board regardless of the aforementioned criteria.

  7. Is is essential especially this year when the issues are relevant to every homeowner to get out and vote on Tuesday. There is a decision to be made on the P&Z. The current P&Z has been supporting big development and the actual people who live and pay taxes are not counted but the developers can come in and get any zone changes they want. Therefore it is important to vote for all 4 of the candidates on the Republican or Save Westport Now ticket. If you want high buildings encroaching on neighborhoods vote for the democrat. If you want to keep the character of Westport vote for the 4 republicans for P&Z. Read the editorial in the Minuteman and and Westport News, Bob Zappi explains the situation.
    Please vote, it only takes a few minutes. There are other boards and commissions, the Bd of Ed, the Board of Finance. Read the papers and make your decision. This is your community and you have an opportunity to make a difference.

    • Be nice if we could keep the discussion to getting out the vote, not campaigning for one set of candidates. (It wasn’t an editorial; it was an op-ed by the republic town chairman.)

      • And you wonder why some don’t vote??? Canidates pollute our landscape, our blogs and our mailboxes. I love Jonathan Steinberg. He goes to the dump and helps out with your garbage while handing out flyers.

  8. In response to “Anonymous”. My quote “What works is cooperation, not conflict” is from the Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI), that has been around a lot longer than Bill Clinton. Perhaps Clinton plagiarized it from a reputable source.

  9. Still bullshit.

  10. Half the residents don’t know what the RTM is, and way more don’t know the names of their reps.
    Is that the fault of the voters or the elected?
    6 of the 9 RTM Districts are uncontested, 2 have one “extra” candidate. That says volumes about how informed and interested the “voters” are.
    Some RTM members even change their party to UNAFFILIATED in order to falsely profess objectivity (eg. Hadley Rose from Democrat). WTF?
    How many voters have been asked by their RTM Rep for an opinion on anything?
    The RTM needs term limits. Some of these folks are way “over the hill” and have ridden the wave of indifference for many many years.
    If you educate them, they will vote, so stop blaming the non-voters.

  11. Vote Early and Often

    Not so sure of your supposition, I VOTE. The “Westport News” reports that over 80 per cent have voted in Westport in the past two presidential elections while only 35% voted when local races were only at hand. One attorney interviewed by the newspaper stated that “nothing has changed in this town in the past thirty years” which seems to infer that it really doesn’t matter who is in office. I always vote in each election but have no idea about or inclination to find out about the canidates.

  12. I realize that you are bein sarcastic but people should recognize that elections that carry no federal governing ramifications have the lowest turnout and elections with low turnout can be more easily dominated by individuals with a particular point-of-view, the so-called ‘special interest group.’ It’s a little late to start organizing any special campaigns now but Westporters and other readers of this blog should remember that the fewer people that turn out for an election, the more each single vote matters. Go vote!

    http://educationnext.org/spring-cleaning-new-evidence-that-off-cycle-school-board-elections-are-bad-for-democracy

  13. Evan, excellent points. I guess there is no cure for apathy. Is there any voting pattern by income / wealth?

  14. dear “I vote”….if you would like to stop hiding behind an anonymous post, I would be most happy to explain to you why I changed to unaffiliated a number of years ago. It had nothing to do with falsely anything,…as opposed to say..hiding your identity to make false accusations?

    All you have to do is contact me by email through the town website or by phone, just like anyone in town can, if you want to know the reasons behind it.

    Oh, and by the way, as regards your comment about RTM members asking the voters about anything, I know a number of members who frequently do just that. But then again, why let the facts get in the way of a good rant?

    And lastly, and I know you may have heard this before, but we do have term limits. They are called elections

    Hadley Rose

    • You make I Vote’s point. RTM has been notoriously unchallenged to the delight of the members. It’s as technical an election as the mid-east’s.
      Why hide? Tell us all why you switched.

  15. No one “hides” behind a comment here. Many do so to avoid being harrassed which has been known to happen.

  16. Many people do not vote because they believe the difference in outcome is not worth the effort. iIhave lived in Westport for over 30 years. If there is a dime’s worth of difference between the governing habits of the Democrats and the Republicans, I would like to see some empirical evidence. The town’s finances are mismanaged by both and tax rates go up to cover the mismanagement no matter which party holds office. The scandal with respect to the town’s pension fund liabilities is just more evidence on the outright incompetence of the political class in Westport. Why bother to vote? What will change? And where is the evidence to support claims of change?

    • Hi Emma,

      I just read your post. I’d like to explain the financial workings a bit. There are three categories to consider:

      1) the financial professionals employed or paid for by the town – the finance department, assessor, tax collector, audit firm, actuarial firm – these are hired/chosen rather not elected.

      2) the town departments – e.g., fire, police, library, public works. These department heads are also hired, not elected.

      3) the elected officials – only the elected Selectman’s office receives a salary. Other elected officials (including the Board of Finance) are 100% volunteers. This is the only area the voters can directly affect with their votes.

      Having served on the Board of Finance for the past 6 years, I can tell you that taxes would be much greater without a Board of Finance. If every department head could get his/her wish list automatically, taxes would go up dramatically year after year. When the departments present us with their budget requests or appropriations, we examine them carefully and have the power to prioritize our spending.

      The BOF candidates this year – Republican or Democratic – are all wonderful people who devote their precious free time to the town.

      I hope you do go out and vote. It’s a beautiful day.

      Avi Kaner
      Board of Finance

  17. The Dude Abides

    Sock it to them, Emma!

  18. Charlie Haberstroh

    I’m sorry Emma feels that way. I’m not sure what she is looking for in candidates, but if she hasn’t been satisfied — and it sounds like she sure has not been — I recommend she finds out as much as she can about each candidate and vote accordingly. By doing nothing, she perpetuates the “outright incompetence”. As a dedicated part time public servant, I cannot help but resent her comments, but I can understand why she feels that way. She doesn’t have to.

  19. Getting involved and informed is time consuming. Some conclude that the probable effect of their one vote won’t matter (like voting for a Republican Presidential Candidate in CT). Others just don’t feel informed enough to render an intelligent vote.
    The LWV publishes three sentences and a gibberish bio where the candidate can say anything (how about education and work history… Not a list of RTM Committees).
    Even when you think you know a candidate, someone tells you a fact that changes your mind.

    How many would vote for Gordon again if he had told us he’d be submitting developer friendly proposals to steal an old ladies home, give away Barons South for some stupid legacy, cancel Halloween, and have his clone, Larry Bradley support the move of the Y to where his bias was so over the top it was laughable.

    Given this history, VOTES DO IT TO FEEL GOOD.

    • You tell ’em Veteran! I’m with you and I already voted on Monday even though I know nothing will stop Joseloff’s land give away at our expense or bring back this year’s Halloween!

  20. Voting is an honor, a privilege, and a responsibility. I’ve never understood why everyone doesn’t do it. The most common excuse is not knowing the candidates… How can we fix that?

    • The Dude Abides

      Spot on, Tom. Start ’em in junior high understanding the process and the candidates. Have them fake vote, work the polls. Get the kids involved and they will stay interested. I sure did. Worked with my mother for Tricky Dick in ’60 mailing out letters from a place next to Gold’s Deli (not eye glass place).

  21. Lisa Marie Alter

    I like that idea, Dude.

    And I agree, Tom: voting is a privilege… and we try to reinforce that fact to our 12-year-old that we are blessed to enjoy it here in America (thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of many, such as our veterans 🙂

    The kids are off from school on Election Day (since the schools are used as polling places)… Why not let the kids enter a “training ballot” where they can vote for THEIR choice of candidates. The results of their election can be reported (and they can see firsthand the effect their voice could have, were theirs to be real election).

    If we can manage to ‘change the world’ by abolishing plastic bags here in Westport, why can’t we get out the Vote amongst our youth (and our dispassionate electorate) ?

    PS. Since they instituted the paper ballots, they have also banned the kids from “touching” the ballot in any way. We used to take our son into the voting booth and allow him to pull the lever after we made our selections; now, he’s not even permitted to drop our ballots into the box.

  22. Hadley,
    Just got back. So you will tell all if I email you through the Town Website?

    I suggested that some may be trying to prove objectivity and used you as an example. You are not the only politician to do this. It’s a long list. But if you feel falsely accused (that you were falsely professing objectivity or non-partisanship), please tell all of us why you switched after some 40+ years. Why conceal the reason for such a dramatic reversal? it must be a fascinating story.

    Tell us before the election, please?

    You “know a number of RTM members” who ask voters? You are the Moderator, you should be able to say ALL MEMBERS. But you can’t. You don’t know, but you should know that few do. It’s obvious from the votes that don’t represent the majority of citizens as evidenced by the letters to the editors and the blog comments.

    Would you feel better if I told you that I am on the RTM, but as suggested by another commentator, I fear retribution and removal from the prize committees?

    You are in a contested race, are you not? WOW, 5 people for 4 slots. And you call that “term limits?” Get serious. That is called a “shoo in” or easy winner. We shall see.