On the Ballot II

I’m looking at a copy of the general election ballot. My name’s on it. See?

Given the hoops I’ve managed to first locate and then jump through, bitching most of the way, this should not be all that surprising. Still — my name’s on the election ballot.

Other than that it looks like any other Massachusetts ballot, customized by district and locality. The left column is topped by “Electors of President and Vice President.” The candidates themselves are only identified by surname: Johnson and Gray, Obama and Biden, Romney and Ryan, Stein and Honkala.

In every subsequent block, names are given in full, and incumbents (“Candidates for re-election”) are listed first, in alphabetical order.

I’m not wild about this. How about alphabetizing the incumbents with everybody else, and including “Candidate for re-election” in the same teeny tiny size it’s in now?

I’d be lucky number 13 no matter which way they did it.

What really bugs me, though, is that it’s not explained how the MVC voting works. The MVC has nine elected members, all elected at the same time to two-year terms. So up at the top it says “Vote for not more than NINE.” What it doesn’t say is that each town must have at least one elected commissioner and no town can have more than two, so if you vote for three candidates from the same town, you’re throwing a vote away. Voters need to know this.

There are three candidates running from Tisbury, three from Oak Bluffs, three from Edgartown, and three from West Tisbury (that’s my town). One of each trio isn’t going to get elected, no matter how many total votes they get. The third-highest finisher from West Tisbury might edge out the second-highest finisher from Edgartown, but the Edgartonian will probably be elected and the West Tisburyite definitely won’t.

Pay attention to where the candidates live. It’s in teeny tiny type, but it’s there. Don’t vote for more than two candidates from any one town. If you want, you can vote for just one from a particular town — or none. And you can vote for fewer than nine in total if you like.

And yes, I’d be quite happy if you voted for me. My name is Susanna J. Sturgis and I approved this blog post.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
This entry was posted in Martha's Vineyard, public life and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to On the Ballot II

  1. I wish you great success in your endeavor, Susanna! It’s time for the “Good Old Boy” stronghold on local government (political hackery) to finally end. Perhaps your initiative will motivate others to get involved and make a difference.


    • I hope so! I believe in “critical mass” — it’s very, very hard for one or two people to shift the balance in an organization, but when one or two people are willing to point out that the emperor is buck naked, it encourages others to see, acknowledge, and maybe speak out too. There are some conscientious and gutsy people on the MVC already, but I don’t think it’s reached critical mass yet. If I and some of the other new folk running get elected, maybe we can do the trick.


  2. Juleann says:

    Yes — I want to echo the article in the paper idea. Maybe you would be able to submit almost exactly what you have written as a sort of op-ed. While you are clear you are running, you aren’t shouting out, “Vote for ME!”. You sound reasonable & clear-headed — thank you!


  3. The Commission needs a shakeup. Go girl. There are no instructions on the ballot regarding how to vote. This is improper. An article in both of the papers and a letter from you would do it.


  4. Susanna this is a public service blog…too bad it won’t get to all the voters….can we use facebook in some way to let it be known?


    • I posted it to my FB page — share away, and send the link to anyone who’s not on Facebook. I want to do another ballot graphic that color-codes the candidates by town. It’s really important that voters be aware that this matters,


      • Michele Jones says:

        Dear Susanna,
        The point you made about no more than two from each town is so important. I think most people would pick nine, and not realize that they may actually be throwing a vote away..
        Thank you for making this point clear. It is of utmost importance that our votes count.


  5. Susan Wilson says:

    Woot woot! And thanks for the tutorial on MVC voting. I’ll be paying close attention. Good luck!


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