The Short Ballot

No!  Not anything more about elections. 

I believe that you will find this post inoffensive and worth a few moments of your thoughts.

How many of you struggle in the voting booth when you encounter a long list of candidates for various offices?  I consider myself a reasonably well-informed person, but I find it very difficult to know the best candidate for judge of the circuit court, register of wills, member of the school board, etc.  I often simply do not vote for these offices and hope that better informed voters will make wise choices.  Probably I should spend more time trying to learn about these candidates and issues, but that would mean a lot of research, and I’m not prepared to invest that amount of time.

In some jurisdictions they attempt to solve the problem with a short ballot.  In those places only a few of the offices are elective, and the chief executive is given the power to appoint persons to many lower offices – including justices.  The appointments usually require legislative approval (by elected state, city or county bodies).  The terms of these appointed officials can also be staggered so that the incoming executive cannot appoint all of them at once. Such appointment authority places great power in the hands of the executive, but it also means that the voters will know who to hold accountable for bad government and corrupt courts.  If one is a good executive, he/she will appoint persons as judges, school board members, etc. on the basis of their proven competence rather than for purely partisan reasons.  

Both the long ballot and the short ballot have advantages and disadvantages.  As for me, I favor the short ballot. 

What about you?

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