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Make candidates EARN votes
Written by Chris Mueller   
Wednesday, September 26, 2012 8:14 PM

I am disgusted every time I look at an election ballot and see the line indicating a shortcut that I can fill out to vote either all Republican or all Democrat with one quick mark. It’s an insult to the voters, the candidates and the brave men and women who fought and gave their lives so that we can enjoy the privilege of voting.

In Dearborn County Republicans count on single ticket voters so much that they know can put up just about anyone (qualified or not) and that person will generally get elected, sometimes even without campaigning. According to the State Election Commission, this predominantly Republican or Democrat population has the same effect in several Indiana counties.

Local elections matter because what happens in our community affects our daily lives.
What is so great about living in a small county is that we have the ability to get to know more about our officials both before and after we elect them.

In addition to the newspapers, radio, and flypod.com, there are usually two or three meet the candidate nights in the fall.

Candidates now often have their own websites and Facebook pages. Talking to our friends and neighbors who are politically savvy is another option.

I have attended county meetings for more than 17 years. I have seen elected officials from both parties who have been good public servants and some from both parties who haven’t.

There are conservatives and liberals in both parties. There are Democrats who are pro-life and Republicans who hate guns, but I haven’t heard any say they don’t believe in God. Just because individuals belong to a party doesn’t mean they all agree on everything that party stands for.

Because of my experiences with county officials, I think it is important to look past party affiliations and see what kind of character the candidate has (or in some cases, is!) Check out their resumes. Are they trustworthy? Do they have a skill set that will enable them to do a good job? What has their past performance been? Do they know how to spend money wisely?

How does being a Democrat or a Republican affect being a good coroner, surveyor, clerk, recorder, assessor, auditor, treasurer, prosecutor, or judge? Do you care if your child’s teacher is Republican or Democrat? How about your doctor, plumber, dentist, mechanic, mailman, or trash collector? Or do you just want them to do a competent job?

This November- even if you vote for all Republicans or all Democrats- go down the entire ballot and vote line by line. I like to know the names and qualifications of every single person getting my approval. And if I don’t know it, I leave it blank. It’s not a test- it’s a ballot and there are no points off for leaving something blank. Diversity in party, age, education levels, gender, and culture brings many perspectives to county offices and boards. It moves the county forward. It helps prevent corruption.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit and vote both sides.

I hope that someday our legislators decide to abolish single ticket voting. It is time we make every candidate EARN the votes they get.

Christine Brauer Mueller writes for The Dearborn County Public Forum (www.dearborncounty.blogspot.com). She and her husband have five grandchildren who love visiting them at Willow Brook Farm in Lawrenceburg Township.