Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Putting the "special" in special election

So I voted by absentee ballot today - in person, if you can believe that - in the special school election tomorrow.

That's not really the point.

The point is how odd I feel, in the way I vote in local elections, now that I'm a homeowner.

When I was just a renter, not facing property taxes or really caring about what went on in the municipality, I voted more or less party line, pro-education, stuff like that.

Now that I own a home, in a community, I pay more attention - I think about what each vote means, how I would want things to be if my vote really meant anything (which of course, it never does, as most elections in my area are pretty one-sided).

Take school budget referendums (like today's). In the past, I tended to vote for them - hey, the children are the future, right? But now, I look carefully at what they're for, and why they're up for vote. My property taxes are high - it's Jersey, after all - and having no children myself, I'm deriving no direct benefit from the school system.

That's not to say I vote against any and all property tax increases. On the contrary, I've voted for some. But I'd rather vote for programs that could benefit the whole school district than, say, more stands for the football field (especially when the basic needs aren't being met). I'd rather make sure the district meets its basic needs than pay more for excess.

I worry you get what you pay for... but I also worry about paying the mortgage.

(Aside, it says something about "No Child Left Behind," that my school district wants to raise the budget because they spend so much to meet the standards they can't afford basic maintenance.)

On a legislative level, I find myself sometimes voting for Republicans - and I'm a Democrat - because I'm in a heavily Republican area, most of my local guys are Republicans, and I think they're getting things done that I want done.

They're working on a Route 206 bypass that would cut down on traffic in Hillsborough. The local state Assemblyman, a Republican, is from Hillsborough. So I vote for him - why? Because I figure he cares about getting things done in the township. Like getting rid of one of the nation's most impressive collections of mercury, stuff like that.

Funny how that works. I don't quite know what to make of it all.

But I keep thinking that this is why people care so much about the local elections I used to shrug at. Because it hits 'em in the wallet. And right now, my wallet's got just enough in it to feed me tomorrow.

And I kept my streak up with that absentee ballot - I've never missed an election, not even the screwy little school ones (where the polls are only open in the evening, when I'm at work).

The importance of voting to a naturalized citizen and journalist... well, that's another post.

Assemblyman Peter J. Biondi, R-16th Dist.
Hillsborough Township School District - Go Raiders!
The Route 206 bypass controversy
The Somerville Depot, which is really in Hillsborough

Totally off subject, I got the second season of "Law and Order: SVU" on DVD today. I love that show. It's addictive.


Stewie said...

Dude, you're voting smart. Your voting for the better good rather than party line.

:up: to that.

I wish more people did the same instead of blindly voting the party.

Freak Magnet said...

Tag - you're it.