We the people want to be heard. We want to have our “say”. So why are less than half of eligible voters actually voting? Maybe it’s a sign that we need a change.
I for one am sick of the ballot using such complicated legalese that what you are voting on is obscured. Whoever is editing our voting materials never attended English classes taught by my teachers. Being unclear was a big no-no.
Example of a measure proposed on a local ballot:
Shall the City of Pineville, State of Louisiana (the “City”), continue to levy and collect a special tax of ten (10) mills on all property subject to taxation in said City (an estimated $780,745 reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the tax for an entire year), for a period of ten (10) years, beginning with the year 2011 and ending with the year 2020, for the purpose of paying salaries of employees of the fire and police departments of said City? …
That is only the brief description of Measure B. There are 6 more pages at the back of the ballot with the story, but most folks don’t read those pages. It’s not because we are lazy, or ignorant. It’s because reading the brief description has already given us a headache.
I’ve spoken English all my life and that just wasn’t it. The government started printing the ballots and voter information in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. So people whose primary language is not English can better understand the material. I wonder how that is working for them. All this time they thought it was the f_*&^#g English language that kept them from understanding what they were voting for. Ha! Now they know that none of us know.
Aside from the way ballots are worded, these Measures, Laws, and Propositions often do not involve one thing. They involve 2 or 3 things, or even worse, they refer to other Measures, Laws, and Propositions. It’s suspicious the way they pussy-foot around what is being said. Measure B above, translated into English, would say: “Should Pineville, LA continue to collect a special property tax for funding the police and fire departments for another 10 years?” Yes or No? Period. Talk about the gory details on the pages in the back of the pamphlet if you must.