Election Etiquette

Today begins early voting for the party primaries. To me it seems like this day has been a long time coming. Each election cycle, candidates begin earlier and earlier with this campaign season, even beginning prior to officially turning in their paperwork. I expect this on the national level. It takes an excessive amount of time to campaign across an entire nation. I’m more surprised when I see this taking place on the local level. Additionally, some forums turn into mud slinging instead of informational sessions, which benefits no one.

I currently serve on our local city council. I’ve been personally attacked. I’ve witnessed personal attacks on others. It needs to stop. Therefore, today’s post is all about election etiquette.

I’m not sure when we first entertained the notion that everyone we encounter is dying to know our position. Let me be the first to say, they’re not. Some of the people I respect the absolute most rarely volunteer information regarding politics. That is not at all implying they’re uninformed or that they don’t care. They volunteer. They donate. They seek to become informed. When asked, they’ll happily state who they support and why. However, at the end of the day, the also understand that some people dig their own graves. By being overly forceful in supporting someone, it is often a turnoff of that candidate to others who may still be in the decision-making phase.

If you feel the need to strongly support a candidate, make sure that you don’t dominate the conversation with only your candidate’s information. Be willing to listen. Be willing to learn. You may very likely stick to the person you were initially supporting. However, you may also learn why someone else doesn’t. When we ask for change simply for the sake of change, you may get what you ask for. By listening, you’re opening up the conversation to dialogue as opposed to a monologue.

This next bit is important to state. Don’t wear candidate-specific items while voting. You will likely be asked to leave if you wear anything supporting a particular candidate to the polls. Make sure you leave the campaigning at home or at least outside of the specified area during early voting and on election day.

Most of all, seek to be an informed voter, and don’t feel pressured to vote a particular way. Listen not only to what people say but how they say it.

There are no perfect candidates. None. However, there are people you will find who are willing to listen and willing to prioritize items that are of utmost importance to you.

If you are a candidate during this election cycle, I wish you luck and peace. Also, know that there are many other ways of contributing aside from obtaining an elected position. If you do not win, please consider this.

Thank y’all for your time!

 

Political Politeness, Part 3

Political Politeness, Part 3

Today, locally, begins our city council race, among other races in our county. This can be a time of tension, though I think it could be used as a time of learning. So, to continue our political politeness series seems quite appropriate on the first day of early voting.

So behaviors, such as wearing a candidate’s shirt or pin to the polls, are actually illegal and could get you removed from the voting area. Other behaviors, such as setting up just outside the legal boundaries, simply are in bad taste. Garnering support for yourself or your candidate shouldn’t take place only the days of early voting and Election Day. It should have been an effort all along. I will say with honesty, sometimes we can lose a race for ourselves or others based on our actions. That is why etiquette and manners are so vital in the political arena.

Here are a few dos and don’ts for going to the polls.

DON’T:

Break the law by campaigning at the polls.

Reduce people to their political party. You don’t have to like a certain political party to respect someone as a human.

Tell people for whom you voted unsolicited. I strongly discourage political talk, but it is especially uncouth when it is unwanted.

Forget to vote. If you have done your research and plan to vote, make sure you actually go to the polls.

DO:

Remain calm and polite. The volunteers are doing their best with limited training. They will need to verify you are who you say you are.

Your research ahead of time. I have little respect for voting just to vote. This can often do much more harm than good.

Encourage others to voting in an informed matter, but always keep in mind: their opinion is no better or worse than yours.

Remember candidates and their supporters are human beings.

Remember the Golden Rule.

For everyone running for an office, I wish you a lot of luck. Regardless of the election outcome, I hope you find time to volunteer for your community. It needs you.

For everyone voting, I hope you put a lot of thought into your vote. Remember the candidates are not perfect, and support the winning candidate, regardless. We cannot move forward by cutting our nose to spite our face.