Why are we electing these people?

Even a political junkie like me looked at the down-ballot elections for Atlanta School Board and Municipal Court of Atlanta and thought, “Are you f***ing kidding me?”  Seriously, why are we electing these people?

I have NO IDEA who these people are.  When it came to Municipal Court, there wasn’t even a choice for who to vote for.  “Should so and so be retained?”  I voted no across the board, partly to be a contrarian and partly because I’ve never had a fun experience at Municipal Court – it is poorly organized and takes forever.  I have no idea if the judges have control over that stuff, but hey, that’s what you get for being on the ballot for a job no one pays attention to.

Seriously, these should be appointed positions.  Being elected to these positions probably creates less accountability than if the Mayor or the City Council appointed these positions, simply because no one knows who these people are.  I guess then you run into concerns about cronyism… So there isn’t a good solution?

Bah humbug.  I just don’t think I should be voting for positions that I forget exist except for one day every four years.  I mean, who do you know that could name one School Board member or one Municipal judge off the top of their head?  Let the Mayor or the City Council handle these things.  At least then the Mayor could actually run on an education platform instead of differing to the School Board no one pays attention to.

7 Comments so far

  1. james hervey (jeherv) on November 4th, 2009 @ 10:56 am

    dude, i could not agree with you more. i was going to write someone in for every one of these races, but after a while it just got to be too time consuming and i was hungry.

  2. Reid Davis (unregistered) on November 4th, 2009 @ 12:22 pm

    Excuses, excuses. Connect with your local neighborhood organization, read the bulletin board(s) and spend a few minutes doing online research.

    For example, I voted yes to all judges but Gary E. Jackson. Why? I happen to know that he’s been one of the reasons we’ve had a hard time getting code enforcement cases to be resolved in a timely manner. He needs to be booted for someone who’ll be a lot tougher on owners of derelict property. Took me all of 15 minutes to ferret that information out.

  3. bking on November 4th, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

    15 minutes researching a Municipal Court judge? There were like six or seven judges. I’m not going to spend 1.5 to 2 hours researching these folks. Do you know why? Because 90% of the rest of the city isn’t going to, they will just check “yes” and retain them. All of the incumbents won with 80% of the vote. Why waste my time for a position that know one cares about?

    Democracy requires an educated population to work – these offices are so small, most voters cannot be reasonably expected to spend the time to research these folks. There is no “democracy” for these positions, because no one knows squat and no one will ever know squat about the position.

    Plus, they aren’t even opposed, it is just “should they be retained.” That is a system set up to retain incumbents! Calling it an election is almost a fraud.

    You are one of the ten people in the city who knew before hand that there was a referendum on municipal court judges, and one of the three people who spent the time researching them. Congrats. Gary E. Jackson won with 81.25% of the vote.

  4. Green (unregistered) on November 4th, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

    Coming from a place where they rehash every other year whether or not to teach evolution in the schools, school board elections can sometimes be a big deal. Obviously not the case here, but I do like having the right to boot folks just in case

  5. Patrick (unregistered) on November 4th, 2009 @ 6:16 pm

    My policy on these types of things is to leave it blank if I truly have no idea. Looking at some of the vote totals on these down ballot races, every vote really does count. If there is someone that needs to be booted, I don’t want to keep them in with a mindless yes vote that cancels out a vote of someone who has done more research, and if someone should stay, I don’t want to see them booted because I voted no out of spite.

  6. michael moebes (unregistered) on November 6th, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

    I’m with Patrick…if I don’t know the person(s), I leave it blank. I try to know something about each contest, but it doesn’t always happen.

  7. can we kill the run-off? plz? | Atlanta Metblogs (pingback) on December 2nd, 2009 @ 7:57 am

    […] am all for people’s civic duty, but when we are voting over and over and over, and as ben mentioned for positions most people don’t even know what they do, it’s easy to see why people […]

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.