DiMezzo’s Trap

I Hadn’t Even Geared Up to write (or edit the stories from the guys) when I got an email from Premium reader Mike in New Hampshire: “OK, this is just a perfect example of results that can happen when you just vote the party line without thinking,” he said, and included a link to an article on Fox News. As soon as I saw it I understood his “perfect” comment, and went right to work on the story, finding a second source and more details. As soon as I was done, I knew it was not only the lead story for this week’s newsletter, but it would also be the sharable “Story of the Week” — and here it is:

Party Line: 'I shouldn’t have won this freaking primary,' says Aria DiMezzo of Keene, N.H., who is running for Cheshire County Sheriff as a Republican. 'I should have gotten crushed.' Instead, she won with 4,211 votes. The issue: DiMezzo is a self-described 'anarchist She-Male' whose platform is, 'F*** the Police' (literally, using three little gold sheriff’s stars), and she’s the founder of the Reformed Satanic Church, even though she says she doesn’t believe in either God or Satan. She is 6 feet tall, carries a gun, has bright red hair, and advocates dropping laws without actual victims, such as those against drugs or sex work. Except maybe for the gun, she’s not exactly the sort of person Republicans would normally vote for, but that’s exactly her point: 'Between 75 and 80 percent of the primary voters — the ones alleged to be more politically aware than the average voter — were completely and totally ignorant of who they were voting for,' she said. 'What is the percentage with the average voter? 90 percent? 95 percent? These people are deciding who gets to rule you.' (RC/New Hampshire Union Leader, Fox News) ...Politicians know this: that’s why they work so hard to appeal to the obliviots.
Click to see larger, and to grab it to share on your site/blog, or any social media platform. Feel free to include a link to this page with it: https://go.thisistrue.com/dimezzo

I actually mostly like Aria DiMezzo’s platform. “It’s tragic what has been done to police officers. None of them are bad people,” she writes. “In fact, my encounters with Keene PD show them to be upstanding, noble people who are generally enforcing the arbitrary rules of a system they don’t agree with. They didn’t become cops to pull people over for broken taillights or turn signals blinking too fast (note: I’m literally on video having been pulled over for this). They became cops because they care about other people, and they want to help, but they became trapped in the state apparatus that turned them into road pirates. This is not their fault.”

She concludes, “I don’t hate the police. I want to inspire and motivate police officers to be what they truly desire to be. I want them to go home at night in pride, knowing that they have had an impact in making the world a better place. Extortion and kidnapping don’t make the world a better place, and they know that. The domestic violence rate of police wouldn’t be 40% if they were okay with what they had done when they went home. I can help. I want you to be what you want to be. I want you to help people.” If you want to read it for yourself (warning: she does spells out the F word — several times), it’s here.

Oh, and if you think she sounds like a Libertarian, you’re right. But she knew that was a non-starter: “Ultimately, the U.S. is a country with two parties and that isn’t changing anytime soon,” she said. Hence, her stunt.

DiMezzo’s Chances

Not that I expect DiMezzo to win or anything: a lot of Republicans will be voting for the Democrat in the November election, as I said in the story’s tagline. You know, along with the Democrats that either vote blindly or know who their sheriff is and support him.

DiMezzo’s Trap
DiMezzo’s campaign sign, and a screencap of her during a media appearance.

I doubt she expects to win the general election, either, when she has to face the 4-term incumbent sheriff, Democrat Eli Rivera, but she did make her point, and very effectively: that anyone can win such an election — one where there’s no default choice for “their party” — if they present themselves with the right timing. Because she’s absolutely right: so many voters vote for the party, not the person. Pretty much, “anyone” can declare themselves a Democrat or a Republican and run with that label, and they have a decent chance of fooling the majority of the voters.

OK, but How?

It’s easy, particularly in the primaries; certainly harder in the general elections. But not that much harder when the circumstances and timing are right.

The sheriff (or other official) is coming up for re-election, and optionally does something that makes him or her unpopular with voters? And the opposing party hasn’t filed a candidate to run against them, which makes it easier? It’s as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Re-register as a member of the opposing party, if necessary,
  2. Wait until the deadline to file your candidacy for that office, so that the party doesn’t have a chance to throw in someone that’s “really” a member of the party to oppose you, and
  3. Well, no more steps: you’re on the ballot.

It really is that easy. Here are the requirements to run for office in New Hampshire, according to the N.H. Secretary of State from their web site:

  1. “You must be a registered voter of the party you wish to file for in the town where you are domiciled” — fill out a form,
  2. “File a Declaration of Candidacy, [and] a Statement of Financial Interests” with the Secretary of State — more simple forms, and
  3. “Pay the administrative assessment fee OR file the required number of primary petitions as indicated below” (emphasis NOT added).

For a “county officer” position, you must get 50 petition signatures from registered voters –OR– pay a whopping $10 filing fee. That’s it.

If you’re the only one to file as a Democrat or a Republican, you can count on a significant percentage of “your” party’s vote, even if you’re a bum (or an “anarchist She-Male” whose platform is “F*** the Police”), because so many voters are mindless party-first droids who doesn’t understand someone doesn’t have to agree with any of their party’s positions to be on the ballot.

DiMezzo understood this and trolled the GOP faithful of her county but good. Not that it’s just a publicity stunt: “Now that she’s won the nomination,” the Boston Globe reports, “DiMezzo insists … that she does, in fact, want the job, and is planning to actively campaign against the incumbent sheriff.” But, as noted above, she doesn’t expect to win, which at least makes it clear she’s intelligent.

Not the Only One

DiMezzo wasn’t the only candidate to try the tactic. Rich Paul, which the New Hampshire Union Leader described only as “a convicted felon,” got on the Republican ticket for the primary election …for governor. He also used a clever tactic: he first legally changed his name to “Nobody”!

It didn’t work, because there was already a Republican in the race: incumbent Gov. (and “real” Republican) Chris Sununu, who beat the …uh… pants off Nobody.

I’m sure I could find other examples, but you get the idea.

The Awakening

DiMezzo’s win didn’t just make news, it made international news, starting with the article that reader Mike in New Hampshire alerted me to, on Fox News. At least some Republican voters were angry, and someone went to DiMezzo’s house and vandalized her car, parked out front, slashing a tire and the convertible top, and spray-painting a crude penis on the side.

“It’s not a hate crime,” DiMezzo told the Boston Globe, “it’s a gender reveal!” Yep: intelligent and a great sense of humor. No wonder it was so easy to fool the “between 75 and 80 percent of the primary voters — the ones alleged to be more politically aware than the average voter” in her registered party. It was as easy as stealing candy from the baby she was kissing.

“I find it rather funny,” she said of the vandalism. “Imagine being so motivated by hate that basic morality flies out the window.” So much for the likely culprits “law and order” demands, instead giving DiMezzo more ammunition to prove her points.

Marilyn Huston, the chair of the Cheshire County GOP, congratulated DiMezzo: she “did very well with the primary and that was wonderful.”

So, “DiMezzo’s Trap”? Expertly set, and stupidly stepped into. And the suckers continue to fall right in. And as long as voters in either party vote by party rather than thinking, or knowing what their candidate(s) actually stand for, the more they set themselves up to be sucker-punched.

The Bottom Line

Don’t let yourself become a sucker too: do some actual open-minded research on the candidates for the offices that it’s your duty to vote on, and then vote for the ones that actually match your own values and vision for your city, county, and/or country. Don’t take the word of others who have an agenda about who to vote for — especially not the candidates themselves. Do it yourself: that’s what thinking voters do, at least!


- - -

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36 Comments on “DiMezzo’s Trap

  1. Brilliant. I love Aria. But man o man (!) are your elections complicated! How long are the ballots, anyway?

    Totally depends: we can have local, county, state, and federal candidates, who typically have staggered terms. We can have “initiatives” and “propositions” to change laws, and we are asked whether we want to “retain” appointed judges at some interval. Sometimes the ballots are very short; other times, quite lengthy. But the bottom line is, if you’re going to vote on any of these things, it’s important to understand what you’re voting for. -rc

    Reply
    • In at least some states, you get a mock ballot in the mail weeks before the election. This allows a diligent voter to research the issues and candidates at their leisure. You may, at least where I’ve voted (with 50 states and a handful of territories, there could be exceptions that I am not aware of), take this with you into the voting booth so that you can make your choices based upon your crib notes.

      Ballots are NOT standardized, even at the state level. The “butterfly ballot” in 2000 that caused grief in Florida was different than the ballot I got further to the south in Florida. I think my ballot was fill in the bubble not the punch style that also came up in that election (“hanging chads”).

      As an added bonus, even in the same locale, the ballot type changes over time. I’ve had 3 different types so far in less than a decade (two paper, one electronic with no paper trail). In person vs. mailed ballots could be different yet….

      Extra bonus round: the initiatives may be worded in a way that involves double negatives which I suspect causes a few voters to misvote (ex: instead of “should we do X” it says “voting yes means we will do not X”).

      And, as a personal peeve, since there isn’t a “withhold all” or “present” type option on the ballot, there isn’t a way to distinguish if an “undervote” (no vote cast) is the human missed that choice by accident or they didn’t vote on purpose. This removes a signaling mechanism to the politicians that one would think would be of value.

      Reply
      • India, like many other countries, has compulsory voting. When a large number of people refused to vote because they refused to vote for any of the available candidates, India added an extra option “NONE OF THE ABOVE’. I am sure one day soon None of the Above will win an election and then it should get really interesting.

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        • At least one of our states (Nevada) has a “None of the Above” option on its ballots, but it rarely gets more than 2-3% of the vote.

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  2. And this is precisely why I research each candidate before I vote.

    Sadly, you seem to be in the minority these days, but it’s good to hear some still take their responsibility seriously! -rc

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  3. I’m pretty conservative with a pretty wide Libertarian streak. I like this person and would probably vote for them if I could based on this write up.

    Which, I hope, would include reading her full platform, as well as objectively researched biographical info, the latter of which I didn’t research. -rc

    Reply
  4. Tr*p is often considered a slur. I think it is a poor choice for the headline, unless she used the language herself. But thank you for correctly gendering her throughout.

    “Trap (n.): A stratagem for catching or tricking an unwary person.”*

    …which fits this situation perfectly. I don’t see even a potential slur in this.**

    As for gendering, my rule is simple: I use what the person prefers; it’s none of my business if they were “born that way” or choose it, simple as that. I’ll note that Fox News used “she” throughout also; those making comments there weren’t always as polite. -rc

    *(Second definition at https://www.thefreedictionary.com/trap

    **(But if there’s a meaning other than simple dictionary definitions, such as a specific slang term or similar in this specific context, please do feel free to help me understand.)

    Reply
    • Unfortunately, there is a slang term here, and it’s associated with some of the worst violence against transgender people. I only learned about it recently, but it’s been around quite a while….

      As with most offensive slang, not sure I can do better than Urban Dictionary for a short-form definition, though the contributor went with the nonviolent associations:

      The term is sometimes used to refer to all transgender women, asserting that they’re actually men attempting to trick men into having sex with them. Contrapoints had an interesting video dissecting a meme associated with the term.

      Actually, that’s one of the least-offensive Urban Dictionary definitions I’ve seen in a long time! Thanks for the link. -rc

      Reply
    • “Trap” is often used as a slur against M2F trans people, but you have my blessing with the headline. 🙂

      Thanks, Aria. I figured you’d be savvy enough to spot this page pretty quickly, and here you are! Although I know several M2Fs and F2Ms, I had never heard that particular slur before, and obviously was using the dictionary definition, so I’m glad Terry wised me up on it. I still appreciate your thumbs up, and as one whose mission in life is to get people to think more, I admire how you so easily punked the “mindless party-first droids”! -rc

      Reply
      • Hi, Aria. I’m a Cheshire County voter. I stay registered as “Undeclared” for the maximum possible time, so I’m usually only a major party member for about…mmm… 2 hours per 4 years.

        I noticed the anarchy sign on your yard sign and checked out your platform before the story went viral. I’ve also researched the incumbent and go to my town meeting.

        Be well.

        Reply
    • A “Trap” is a trans person who can pass and aggressively pursues members of their preferred sex without revealing their trans identity. As far as I have ever been able to discern, these people are entirely mythological, but if you wander around the trans fora on Quora, you can find many, many obliviots asking questions about whether trapping (in this use of the word) is illegal, or worse, whether it is socially acceptable to use violence in response, a la the trans-panic defense.

      AKA, totally ruled by fear of things that will probably never happen to them. Just a little thinking would lead to so much more productive things to do with their time! -rc

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  5. Oh that is Epic and beautifully done!!! I can see why you bumped DiMezzo’s primary win to the top of the pile when Mike sent it your way. 🙂 That really is a perfect example of why (open-minded) thinking is so very important!!

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  6. This is also why I hate primaries in states like Texas, where you are required to declare your party and can only vote for that party’s candidates. I grew up with “open ballots” at all levels and miss it.

    Colorado started with party-only ballots, and switched to sending two ballots for primaries, and you must choose one to vote — the D or the R. It’s progress, but helps to lock in the two-party system, which is one of the big problems with American politics. -rc

    Reply
    • Usually not having a primary will not hamper a third party since they are a lot less likely to have competition within their party for the actual election ballot.

      It doesn’t hamper getting them on the ballot, but it’s hard to actually get elected. That said, when it happens it’s usually a local office: my county has a Sheriff and two Commissioners who are “Unaffiliated” (party-wise). -rc

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  7. I saw this story on Facebook a couple of days ago, but I scrolled right past it thinking it was too preposterous to be real and that whoever posted it was too lazy to fact check it. I suppose by now the number of obliviot voters should no longer surprise me. I do personally know a number of people who will only vote for a candidate with their preferred letter after the candidate’s name, qualifications be damned. One can only hope that this incident and the resulting publicity will get at least a few voters to think.

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  8. New Hampshire has an “open primary” where anyone can vote in any party’s primary.

    Thus, my guess is that a bunch of Democrats (or unaffiliated) crossed over and voted for the most likely to lose the final election.

    Not exactly. The unaffiliated can register “same day” — but they have to register for the party they want to vote for. (Then they can re-register to the other party, or unaffiliated.) That’s enough of a bother that I doubt many of the 4200 who voted for her were actually Democrats. -rc

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  9. Not sure how long the ballots are for Marion in Canada, but I was in the UK during an election about 5 years ago and there were at least 8 parties on the ballot. My personal favorite was the Monster Raving Loony Party. In the UK anyone can get on the ballot for election to parliament by submitting a nomination form signed by 10 voters from the constituency they wish to contest, along with a £500 deposit (which they get back if they poll more than 5% if the vote).

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  10. I could never do that — with a name like Ted Seeber, I am always at the bottom of any ballot. Starting with an A is a good thing.

    If I recall correctly, in Colorado they put names on the ballot randomly to avoid placement advantage. I’d think several states might do the same. -rc

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  11. I’m not sure I understand what’s going on here, and why people are upset.

    It’s a primary, intended to run-off multiple candidates of a given party to completely fill a limited ballot slot (usually 1 slot, but something like board members may gave several slots).

    Most municipalities will allow additional parties to join the primary provided they exceed a certain percentage tally of the total vote: 3rd and higher parties can get on the primary; alas, there’s a lot of work to be done to get that vote percentage.

    What I find surprising is that one could get on a party’s primary without approval of the party? Ripe for abuse, as shown! As is the ability to negative-vote your opposition’s primary: there should be controls in those cases. I was living in such a controlled area, and obliviots were complaining that they were registered as party but couldn’t vote’s primary: the function of the primary is for the given party to chose their own candidates!

    I think the simple reason of why they’re upset is that DiMezzo proved them to be fools — there is no valid counter-argument. -rc

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  12. Ok, so MAYBE the actual candidate matters at a local level. But really, a vote can also just indicate a general trend.

    I mean the spin could easily be “people are so annoyed at the dems that they vote for anything to get away from them”.

    I mean, if the citizens keep voting Republican, eventually there will be competition and candidates will try to act more Republican to get votes.

    Sure, there can be deceptive practices that act as outliers, but mass intelligence is a slow process.

    Here in Australia we have mandatory voting, and open voting, so we can vote for independent parties just to show that we don’t like the major ones.

    Oh well, he/she may do alright. I wouldn’t be keen as someone who blatantly misrepresents themselves to get into power.

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    • And, Australia has preferential voting which is a long complex system where your vote is not extinguished until the last round.

      Because the big four parties are so arrogant I always start my vote with the independents then the parties least likely to win — say the sex party or something similar.

      In one recent Feral (no that is not a spelling error — it is what I feel describes the candidates best) election my electorate had 9 candidates and the incumbent eventually won by just 7 votes after nearly two weeks of preference counting so my vote was counted 8 times.

      The rise in people doing this should tell the big four parties that they need to get quality candidates and honest policies but naturally they all still lie like flatfish — and stink as bad.

      Reply
      • We actually need a “None of the above” option. But with a bite.

        If this option gets more than the average % eg 4 candidates + None of the above & None of the above gets >20% then the seat is recalled, but all original candidates are banned from running for any form of public office, including in the recalled seat election, at any level, for 20 years.

        Reply
      • That sounds like what the US calls ranked choice voting. It is being pushed hard by some groups on the weird theory that it means that one candidate will have a “majority” mandate when done. It is only a majority because they have thrown out all the votes of anyone who did not want the final choices.

        I suspect that a lot of people are pushing this in order that their weird party gets publicity for all the first round votes and (if it ever is used for state level offices) they will file suit to be declared a major party. In our state, Minnesota USA, they are declared a major party that gives them some benefits if they get 10% of the vote. Parties that no one would ever vote for will get votes from people who normally would vote for who they want to be elected but they get multiple votes that count after the first ones are dropped out.

        One of the odd benefits will cause us to have us running a second election process because a candidate for federal senate has died within XX days of the election. There is almost zero chance that he could have been elected since his (one item, legalize pot) party has barely gotten the 10% of the vote to become a major party once. The election for that office has to be delayed and a full election process has to be done again for that one office. The cause of death has not been made official yet (only a couple days ago) but one of the possibilities that has been mentioned was a drug overdose.

        The law was made a couple decades ago when the candidate that was expected to be elected died in a plane crash shortly before the election. His party had to scramble to put up another candidate (a former Vice President of the US who lost in a landslide when he ran for president) who lost this election. He is of the party that pretty much runs the state and his party that was in control of the state legislature put in the law in order to claim that it was unfair that a very famous party loyalist only lost because people didn’t have enough time to know him.

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        • The current USA system (in nearly all locales) of first past the post encourages “lesser evil of the two big parties” voting. You will get a small number of folks that vote on principal and consider 3rd parties, but not enough to have the 3rd party get major party status. With ranked choice voting, you can vote for the Green, Libertarian, or less well known parties 1st (aka “least of 4 evils”) and if forced still fall back to the greater but not greatest evil.

          There is a similar failure mode that, at least at the presidential level, only the D/R candidates get on the debate stage in spite of the Green and Libertarian choices being on enough state ballots to win (50ish for the L, 40ish for the G). This, IMaO, assures that they get no exposure, no traction, and thus no votes (other than protest ones or from very well informed voters). The lone exception to this in the last few decades that I am aware of is Perot’s 1992 appearance and he managed, what, 19% of the vote?

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  13. Just a small nit-pick — regarding getting pulled over for your turn indicator blinking too fast.

    That is an indication that there’s a light out on the same side as the blinker. So, yeah, it’s basically the same as being pulled over for having a tail-light out, except it will also happen if the brake light, side blinker, headlight, or daytime-running light is out.

    Just tossing that in so those who’ve noticed the blinker know *why* it’s happening, so you can get it fixed.

    Reply
    • Also for those who had LED lights installed or did a self install on a motor vehicle if there’s no resistors installed on the turn signal lights they will “hyperflash”. I learned this during my upgrading of my old Jeep’s lighting system — installed the resistors on the front and rear turn signals and they work as intended.

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  14. Voting except on local and county level is not a posibility to me. In my home country I can’t vote because I live abroad. In Germany I can’t vote because I am a foreigner (though living here for more than 20 years). Were I able to vote I would be in great trouble for whom to choose: As a former journalist (now retired) I know most of the leading politicians personally well and thus I can hardly vote for them. And not knowing a candidate I can’t vote for him or her either (but on a more serious note I would vote for the — in my opinion — best qualified candidate no matter which party this person was affiliated with).

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  15. This story reminds me of the guy, back in 1954, who ran for Massachusetts state treasurer, did absolutely no campaigning, and won the Democratic primary. Then he won the general election. Two years later, he ran for re-election, the Democratic Party establishment opposed him, but he won anyway, both the primary and the general election, again with little or no campaigning.

    He did it a third time (it was a two-year term in those days), winning a third term, again with little or no campaigning. His name was John F. Kennedy. The F was for Francis, and he was not the John F. Kennedy who was a U.S. Senator at the time.

    In 1960, he ran for governor, but people knew in 1960 that Senator Kennedy was running for president, not governor, and he lost. There were a total of six John Kennedys running for pubic office in Massachusetts that year, but only one of them (the one running for president) won.

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  16. It’s certainly possible that some Republicans will vote for DiMezzo just because she has an “R” next to her name. But Keene has a lot of libertarians (far more than most places) who moved there as part of the Free State Project. And they will vote for her because they agree with her platform. She has previously run as a Libertarian candidate — but New Hampshire’s election laws make it easier to run as a major-party candidate, and the Libertarians didn’t get enough votes in the previous election to qualify as a major party this time around.

    I definitely don’t maintain that all of DiMezzo’s 4,211 votes were from Republicans that had no idea who they were voting for. Just that it’s obvious many are. -rc

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  17. When I first heard about this I was skeptical that it was a real event. Now I’m just amazed at the “herd mentality” as well as the lack of research. I used to be die-hard conservative, then was a die-hard liberal — now I’m more of a Libertarian with a conservative lean. Having said that, TBH based on Aria’s motto I would have dismissed her out of hand because cops get a bad rap for the actions of a few, reading her words above I would have given her far more consideration and did the research on her platform. As it stands I hope she wins.

    Reply
  18. How long are the ballots? Depends on the where you live, and which election it is. I’ve heard California and New Hampshire have particularly long ballots, but haven’t seen one to confirm.

    I am expected to vote on 3 proposals/millage requests (there were also 2 in August and 5 in March) and for 46* winning candidates (though several are uncontested and/or multi-seat). Non-presidential elections are usually smaller, but there are also offices that come up only when the President is not on the ballot.

    * (counting President/Vice President as 1, rather than 2, or the technically correct 17 Presidential Electors)

    Michigan (where I live, bordering Ontario) recently limited the number of elections per year, but there can still be several: Primary and General for the main election in the Fall, some areas hold a pair of school elections in the Spring, there may be special elections. Local elections can be at a different time too, though they usually use the Fall elections, and just use an odd-numbered year if they want people to look at local issues instead of national party affiliation.

    My county hasn’t yet released ballot samples, but they have released a 36-page official list of candidates and a 3-page unofficial list of proposals. The actual ballot will be much shorter, because that includes (this year) 2 cities and 16 townships, and you’ll only vote in at most one of those. (Plus 3 villages which might overlap a township, and at least 17 k-12 schools districts that, and one of the library districts….)

    For me personally, there will be 2 state proposals, 1 county proposal, and none of the proposals for other cities/townships/school districts. (As mentioned above, there were also 2 county proposals settled during the primary in August, and 5 in March.) Several of these are because of a state law requiring frequent votes on most uses of local property taxes.

    Those August results take up 51 pages (427 if you want to look at the detail by precinct) + 6 more for purely partisan precinct delegates, though again, that is mostly for local elections applying only to a tiny subset of the county.

    The 36 page office/candidate list for November (remember, this is those who won their primaries) is mostly for all the local elections, but I am voting for 46 candidates, and there are additional offices that happen not to be up this particular year.

    President/Vice President (6 parties made the ballot — besides Democratic and Republican, there are Greens, Libertarian, US Taxpayers, and the Natural Law Party),

    Senator (5 candidates — no Libertarian)

    US Representative (3 candidates — only, D, R, and Libertarian)

    (several Michigan offices are on a 4-year cycle offset from the Presidential race, and therefore don’t appear)

    Michigan Representative (just D and R in my district)

    Every two years we pick another 2 representatives for each of four educational groups; these people do NOT run in a primary, but are nominated by political parties:

    State Board of Education (pick 2 of 11 candidates, the Greens only nominated one, the the Working Class Party has a pair of candidates)

    governing boards of each of the 3 state universities that have med schools, pick 2 of 10 for University of Michigan, 2 of 10 for Michigan State University, and 2 of 7 or 8 for Wayne State. (It lists 3 Republicans, and says one was disqualified.)

    We also pick trustees for the local community college — I assume only the local counties get to vote on this. (pick 2 of 5, non-partisan)

    We pick 2 justices of the Michigan Supreme Court. Officially, these are non-partisan positions, but they get on the ballot by being nominated at a party convention, where only the most dedicated partisans show up to vote. This time we have 7 choices, and rules about judicial campaigning mean that about all we know is which party nominated them (if we look it up beforehand — it won’t be on the ballot) and whether they are an incumbent.

    Technically, we also vote for judges on the “local” (quarter of the state) appeals court, but this is a “pick no more than 2 of these 2, and no more than 1 of this 1” situation, in part because non-incumbents have to get a fairly large number of petition signatures, which was difficult this year with Covid-19.

    Our county is big enough to have the entirety of a circuit court, and there are two seats up, but they separate them into incumbent (if she gets at least one vote, she wins) and non-incumbent (1 choice, 7 candidates, 1 is marked disqualified — but two were marked disqualified last week, so that might be temporary).

    There are also probate and district courts, all “if the incumbent gets at least one vote, they win”.

    At the county level, we vote (partisan, with only Democrats and Republicans making the ballot locally) for Prosecutor, Sheriff, County Clerk, Treasurer, Register of Deeds, and Drain Commissioner, as well as (by district, of which there are 14) a County Commissioner.

    At the township level, there is a Supervisor, Clerk, Treasurer, 4 Trustees, and 7 Parks commissioners. These are technically partisan positions (that varies by municipality), but the local issues don’t have much to do with the national parties, and this year candidates recognized that. The unopposed Supervisor is from a different party than the unopposed Clerk and Treasurer. The Trustee and Parks Commissioner races are basically “pick one NOT to vote for”, and there have been years when the Parks Commission was “vote for not more than 7 of these 6 candidates”, but we still held both the primary and general election.

    Finally we’re down to the local school board, which is a non-partisan “vote for no more than 3 of these 4”.

    Cripes: that’s mind-numbing! Can’t imagine how many just throw up their hands and skip most of it — or skip voting altogether — which is why we’re in the mess we’re in. -rc

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  19. Update from Cheshire County, NH: Soon after the local Republicans learned more about Aria, I started seeing yard signs: “WRITE IN Earl Nelson for Sheriff”. Earl Nelson was elected Sheriff as a Republican prior to the Democratic incumbent’s election. He is currently on the Select Board in my town.

    According to my father, who is a reliable source, Earl Nelson recently stated in print that he didn’t print up new yard signs, he just put “WRITE IN” stickers at the top of his previous supply.

    But my favorite yard signs are ones that showed up late last week, in red/white/blue: PLEASE BE KIND.

    (Sometimes a call to be kind is made by those in a privileged position to those who are very angry about systemic oppression. But I support this message at least for the rest of 2020, and am attempting to live it.)

    Oh — I don’t find it hard to stay as an “Undeclared voter” except when I’m voting in the primaries. There’s a good traffic flow set up at my polling place. It adds about 1 minute to the process. I think the barrier is largely psychological.

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  20. Many years ago I was a registered observer with a candidate at a parliamentary by-election (electing a UK Member of Parliament because of an unscheduled vacancy). There were nine candidates on the ballot paper. One of the candidates did NO campaigning at all, except for having his friends lean out of their cars on the way to the count yelling at people not to vote for him. He came fifth out of the nine candidates. His “Party”? Cambridge University Raving Looney Society. Says something about the electorate, I think.

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