Electoral obfuscation

by awindram

[tweetmeme source=”awindram” only_single=false]A 128-page pamphlet plopped through the mail box this week. No, not the latest Pottery Barn catalogue, but the official voter information guide for the California elections this November.  With its small text size, penchant for legalese, and just the sheer bloody number of words in it, I can’t help but think it makes the very idea of voting in California unnecessarily foreboding.  It contains all you’ve ever desired from an official voter information guide: Arguments in favor of Proposition 19; Rebuttals to Arguments in favor of Proposition 19; Analysis by the Legislative Analyst on Prop 20 (Redistribution of Congressional Districts, Initiative Constitutional Amendment); Fiscal effects for Proposition 21 (establish $18 annual vehicle license surcharge to help-fund state parks and wildlife programs. Grants surcharged vehicles free admission to all state parks. Initiative statue); the same dry analysis goes for Proposition 22; for Proposition 23; for Proposition 24; for Proposition 25; for Proposition 26; for Proposition 27; there’s Political Party Statements of Purpose for the Green Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Libertarian Party, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party and the American Independence Party; candidate statements for anyone running for Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Board of Equalization District 1, Board of Equalization District 2, Board of Equalization District 3, Board of Equalization District 4 and US Senator; information about Judicial retention elections and finally, to cap it all off, the full text of proposed laws.

And to paraphrase Blackadder, the California voter information guide is also soft, strong and thoroughly absorbent.

Leafing through its contents I’m almost relieved I don’t yet have the franchise here. I wrote previously how I found myself almost crippled with indecision when voting in this year’s British General Election and that was just a simple matter of writing an X next to the name of my preferred candidate – God knows what I’d do with this lot. I’m fairly certain crib notes would be required when stepping into the voting booth.  

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