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3.11.06

Voting In Arizona

In lieu of real posting, here are my intentions for Tuesday. Conveniently, my polling place is right next door to my apartment complex. From a vote-security perspective I'm happy we use scantron ballots, but from an aesthetic perspective I'm kind of disappointed to leave behind the old-fashioned push-the-lever machines I used in Pennsylvania.

Senate: Jim Pederson
This is much more a vote against John Kyl than for Pederson. Pederson made his fortune as a developer, which right there is a big strike against him, since I resent living in sprawl-topia. But Kyl is among the more conservative Republicans in the Senate, and his attack ad claiming that Pederson supports amnesty for undocumented immigrants (he actually supports the much more modest proposal for earned legalization) only made me more likley to vote D. I don't actually think Pederson has much of a chance of winning. There's been a lot of talk about the DSCC's decision to pour some 11th-hour money into this race, but I think both the "head fake" and "they know Pederson has a good chance" explanations are wrong. I think it's a combination of looking for a new angle after getting frustrated at not making progress in the key swing races (e.g. Tennessee and Missouri), and getting caught up in their own hype.

House (District1): Ellen Simon
Another vote against, this time targeting incumbent Rick Renzi, who's under investigation for various (albeit not very sexy) incidents of corruption. He also gets a big fat 8% from the League of Conservation Voters (which is actually an improvement over last year's 0%). Sadly, Simon has even less of a chance than Pederson.

Governor: Janet Napolitano
Jeez, my choices just get worse and worse as I move through the ballot. I have an irrational prejudice against candidates who feature their first names more prominently than their last names in their campaign materials (I'm looking at you, Rick, Hillary, and Joe). This race is all about immigration, and Napolitano is bad on immigration. The problem is, Len Munsil (the Republican challenger) is even worse. At least Napolitano is likely to win.

Other Races
I don't know enough about the remaining races to give much analysis. I plan on voting for the Democrat in any contested race, and writing in my friends for any uncontested race.

Now we get to the fun part: the propositions. I generally dislike the proposition process, since I don't think that a one-time vote of 51% of the general population should be able to change the state constitution. (I'd rather have propositions become regular laws, albeit shielded from legislative interference for a set amount of time, with some sort of multiple-supermajorities condition for constitutional amendments.) This year's theme is playing defense against petty and spiteful xenophobia.

Prop 100 (Denying bail to illegal immigrants): NO
This is one of several propositions meant to hurt immigrants without actually addressing the issue. With the advent of tracking bracelets that cut down on absconding, I think we should be getting more generous about granting bail. After all, if one of the problems with immigration is that immigrants suck up too much of our tax dollars, why should we be paying to feed and house them at our prisons?

Prop 101 (Recalculating property taxes): NO
This is an attempt to lock in lower tax rates. Right now each municipality has a cap on how much tax they can levy, but not all of them charge the maximum. Prop 101 says "use it or lose it," capping tax rates at the current actual rate.

Prop 102 (No punitive damages for illegal immigrants): NO
Another bit of anti-immigrant sadism. Courts would be barred from awarding punitive damages to illegal immigrants -- meaning that people and companies would be freer to hurt them, since the punishment would be less. If one of the problems with immigration is that immigrants work for lower wages in poorer conditions, why are we trying to make it easier to take advantage of them?

Prop 103 (English as the official language): NO
Government exists to serve the people. If some of the people (including many native-born citizens, mind you) speak Spanish, then the government should serve them in Spanish.

Prop 104 (Municipalities can use debt to finance public safety and transportation): YES
Given the way Arizona is growing, municipalities may need to get their infrastructure in place now, before the property taxes from the new golf-course subdivisions start rolling in.

Prop 105 (Land conservation): YES
Prop 106 (Land conservation): YES
Prop 106 conserves half again as much land, so I'd favor it. But Prop 105 is better than nothing, so I'll vote yes as a backup.

Prop 107 (Attack on marriage): NO
If you think I'd support a "marriage and marriage-like status for opposite-sex couples only" amendment, you need to spend some time in the archives of this blog.

Prop 200 (Voting lottery): NO
This is a frivolous waste of money. There are a lot better ways to enhance voting -- for example, make election day a holiday, and run candidates that are worth voting for.

Prop 201 (Smoking ban): NO
Prop 206 (Smoking ban): NO
I'm mildly in favor of smoking bans, but I don't think this ought to be in the state constitution. Municipalities can each pass their own smoking regulations.

Prop 202 (Minimum wage increase): YES
I'm in favor of anything that shifts business profits toward the workers, and minimum wage is a modest way of doing that. I'll side with the empirical data over the abstract models when it comes to whether a whole $1.60 an hour will cause massive layoffs.

Prop 203 (Increased early childhood education funding): NO
I'm on the fence about this one, but the fact that it's funded by a regressive cigarette tax pushes me into the "no" camp.

Prop 204 (Better cages for farm animals): YES
As animal rights measures go, Prop 204 is a micro-band-aid -- the tiny handful of pigs and calves raised in the state would get room to lie down most of the time. Which makes it all the more depressing that people can manage to vote against this proposition. Can your capacity for empathy be that stunted?

Prop 205 (Voting by mail): YES
This is a tough call, but stories about voter intimidation and disenfranchisement at polling places tilt me toward yes. I'd be a more solid yes if the proposition didn't seem so eager to shut down in-person voting locations -- it would be better to give people a choice of method.

Prop 207 (Private property): NO
This is a case of libertarian extremists hijacking the legitimate backlash against the Supreme Court's Kelo decision. Prop 207 would require compensation for "regulatory takings" -- any reduction in property value caused by, e.g., zoning laws or environmental regulations. That would cut the heart out of attempts to establish a more sustainable society.

Prop 300 (No classes for illegal immigrants): NO
Another case of trying to hurt immigrants for the sake of hurting immigrants.

Prop 301 (No probation for meth users): NO
One would think that the point of the criminal justice system is to prevent crimes from being committed -- a goal that can often be accomplished through efforts to rehabilitate offenders. But most people seem to see the criminal justice system's goal as proving that we have Really Big Penises because we Get Tough and Crack Down on Bad Criminals.

Prop 302 (State legislators' salaries): YES
I don't actually have much of an opinion as to whether the salaries are adequate (and I have trouble believing many people do it, or decline to, because of the money anyway). But I'll vote yes just because I'm happy to see this question put to the voters, not the legislators.

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