As amazing as it may seem, there were some interesting revelations I came across at the recent New City Fair.
For the first time I heard from people who did not know they could vote for someone who was not the candidate of the party they were registered on. This means for the many years they have been voting, they voted only for candidates that were from the same party as they were registered on, simply because they thought they had to.
It is one thing to vote for your party's candidate because you believe in the candidate, or you simply believe that any candidate who represents your party is good enough to earn your vote. It is quite different when you are under the mistaken impression that you MUST vote for your party's candidate, no matter what you think of the available choices.
I strongly encourage anyone who will cast a vote in any election take the time to educate themselves about each candidate from whatever sources are available, and make their determination based on who they feel is the best qualified candidate. For some positions, such as judges, and particularly local judges, party affiliation should be a secondary thought behind the qualifications of the candidates.
Also take a few minutes and learn about the voting process itself. No matter what party you are registered to (if any - there are those who register with no party affiliation) you have the absolute right to choose the candidate of your choice regardless of what party line they appear on. If you are unsure of how to vote, especially with the new voting machines, just ask someone working at your polling place and they will gladly show you what to do.
Voting is one of the great priviliges we have as citizens. I also believe it can be viewed as an obligation as well. Certainly if you are going to vote, it would be incumbent upon you to learn about the candidates and what they stand for. There are many candidates who get elected based upon little more than party affiliation and name recognition, with hardly anything known about them.
Just look at Supreme Court judicial races in New York. Judges run for 14 year terms, a salary of $136,700 (with new raises just announced), run in a multi-county district, and odds are you won't recognize the name of the people holding these positions, let alone know their record on the bench. Just one example of some issues with our election process. So be informed, get involved, and get out and vote.