As I was preparing to vote next week, I looked at the sample ballot to ensure I knew who I was voting for in all of the positions. I did not.

While my mailbox is inundated with propaganda for the federal and state positions, I have heard nothing about those running for the Soil and Water Conservation Board or the County Agricultural Extension Council, yet these contested races are on my ballot.

I wonder why some positions are elected and others are appointed and who determines it. Why do we elect the Ag Extension volunteers? Why are some positions partisan and some aren’t? Are we best served when the sheriff — a job with a very specific skill set — is elected instead of interviewed by people who know what it takes? Who decides all this?

I don’t have answers to any of these questions (including which three of the seven candidates deserve my vote on the Conservation Board), and I consider myself an informed voter. What happens when Rock the Vote or other voter turnout strategies send uninformed voters en masse into the booths?

The election is in four days. Don’t be surprised when you walk in to cast your ballot. Use your weekend to actually learn something about who running, even those in obscure positions. You would think in this day and age that candidate profiles for all the positions would be in one place for easy review, but they are not. You may have to dig, but voting without forethought is almost worse than not voting at all.

beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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