Early voting has begun and most of the choices are easy on my ballot. For example:
* 2nd District Congress: A vote for Clarke Tucker is a vote for human rights, women’s rights and, most of all, broad access to health care, particularly for the sick and poor. If you’re a Wall Street banker, credit card company, payday lender or other form of blood-sucker or hold low regard for immigrants or people of color, then Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill is your choice.
* Issue 2: This is the cookie-cutter national Republican vote suppression gimmick. Requiring a photo ID, on top of what’s already required to register and a validating signature at the polls, is meant (and has worked) to depress turnout by poor and minority voters. We should encourage, not discourage, voting.
* Issue 4: What difference does it make, given the explosion of Internet gambling options? Note this: Expanded casino gambling would open the door to Indian casinos in Arkansas, despite the past dark effort by the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce to stymie them to protect the Oaklawn casino. The amendment, as a sop to Oaklawn and the Southland racino, allows more types of gambling and cuts taxes at the existing duopoly casinos. At least the amendment would give them competition in Pine Bluff and Russellville. Maybe even on tribal land in Little Rock someday.
* Issue 5: The proverbial no-brainer. Increase the state minimum wage. $8.50 an hour is not enough to support a family. No study has shown an ill economic effect from higher minimum wages, despite what the white men in suits at the State Chamber of Commerce say.
Then there’s the race for Little Rock mayor, a tough choice among, alphabetically, Baker Kurrus, Warwick Sabin and Frank Scott.
A single-issue voter might think it’s easy. Oppose the 30 Crossing concrete gulch downtown? There’s a clear choice. Horrified by police drug raid conduct? Clear choice. Believe real public schools, not privately run charter schools, are the root of community success? Clear choice. Want more rigor in city hall budgeting? Clear choice. A warm, slow-to-anger disposition? Easy pick. Deep, diverse community roots? Clear choice. Best option for real change in a government desperately in need? Clear choice.
Note I didn’t identify the “clear” choice in the categories. What’s clear to me may not be so clear to you.
I’m trying to consider all these factors. No candidate scores straight A’s.
The good news is that the prospect of a win by any of the three isn’t depressing. That is too often not the case in many elections.
I’m voting Democratic in the statewide offices, for philosophical preference, beginning with Jared Henderson for governor. But don’t forget to vote for Susan Inman for secretary of state. It’s about competence. She’s the single best qualified candidate on this year’s ballot relative to the office she is seeking She’s an election expert and veteran of the office who wants to broaden, not narrow, voting.
I might add that Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is the single LEAST qualified major party candidate relative to office. She’s a good reason to vote for a seasoned lawyer, Mike Lee.