It was a long ballot. We voted for 11 offices, whether or not to retain 15 judges, five constitutional amendments, and two propositions. We make a reasonable effort to follow the news, but it is always a challenge to be an informed voter. Last night we spent a couple of hours going through the voter information pamphlet, reading up on candidates and issues, and discussing who and what we would vote for. Sometimes we cancel each others vote on certain issues, but this election we seemed to be in agreement on most points.
Here are my predictions for this election.
I predict a narrow McCain/Palin victory in the Presidential election, followed by a string of lawsuits challenging the victory that makes the Bush-Gore chad debate seem like a friendly disagreement. I realize the polls list McCain as behind (by 4% in all but the most liberal media sources, which say by 12%), but I think McCain will pick up the difference in higher voter turnout.
Rob Bishop will keep his legislative seat. It's noteworthy that he was the only Utah legislator that didn't vote for the recent bailout plan.
Governor Huntsman will remain Utah's governor. I think he's done a pretty good job, he has high approval ratings, and his opponents ran very quiet campaigns (I couldn't even name his opponents until I looked in the voter handbook).
Although Mark Shurtleff will probably remain State Attorney General, I personally don't like him. Bill & I attended a dinner where he spoke and it was painful. He started out by thanking all of the businessmen and their wives that were attending, and the sexist comments only got worse as his speech went on. We voted for the Libertarian candidate, Andrew McCullough.
I think incumbent Auston G. Johnson III will stay as State Auditor. We didn't know much about him, so we figured he is probably doing a fine job. The Salt Lake Tribune endorsed him. Not our finest moment in informed voting...
We voted for Richard Ellis as State Treasurer, believing him to be the most qualified candidate.
For State Representative, I predict Jackie Biskupski will keep her seat. We didn't vote for her, but based on the lawn signs in the area I don't think our vote will do much damage.
For County offices, I think Peter Corroon and Randy Horiuchi will get re-elected. We like Corroon, but Bill doesn't like that Horiuchi has been on the County Council since 1991.
How do you decide who to vote for on the school board? We searched and found brief statements from each candidate printed in The Salt Lake Tribune. I read the statements and then decided to vote for the incumbents, Randall A. Mackey and Heather Bennett. I think this was one place Bill and I disagreed because there was something in one of the incumbent's statements that bothered him.
Judges are another tricky one to decide who to vote for. I predict that the judges will remain because most people will vote straight yes (I admit that I did that until Bill introduced me to the lawyer and juror ratings in the Voter Information Handbook). We voted yes for everyone that had higher than 70 percent ratings across the board (12 of the 15 judges) and no for those that didn't (John Paul Kennedy, Denise Posse Lindberg, and Andrew A. Valdez).
I predict all five constitutional amendments will pass. I didn't even know there would be constitutional amendments on the ballot until I looked in the Voter Information Handbook. Also, there was no argument listed against any of the five proposed amendments. We voted no on the fifth one, though, which allows the state to invest money in newly issued stock or bonds of private companies. The state isn't currently allowed to do that because there was a historic concern that the state would put public funds at risk by investing in the railroads to encourage them to come to Utah. I think the risks are even high now with a shaky stock market and the rate that startup companies go out of business.
I predict that both propositions will pass. We voted yes for funding for the Tracy Aviary. The Aviary needs the funding for improvements necessary to get their accreditation status back. We voted no on the Zoo because their need isn't as great as the Aviary and we were only inclined to support one bond in this election. The Zoo also consistently asks for more money and fails to follow through on its promises to raise money through private donations. I'd also like to see both of these institutions offer a discount to Salt Lake County voters since we keep voting them more money.
What are your predictions for this election?