Climate change aside, I think pens as campaign tools are a very important symbol in New Paltz. We recently decided, if my count is correct, a third race with a write-in candidate winning, and that's pretty amazing. We know how to write in a candidate in New Paltz, and I think that it's the purest form of democracy. I think we should consider institutionalizing it.
Yes, I would like to propose that, instead of voting for a party slate, we just get rid of candidates on the ballot completely. Here's how it could work:
- Town or village clerk publishes the requirements for the position. This is already available, but it's got to be easy to find on the town and village web sites, as well in the local newspapers.
- Voting machines wouldn't have a single name listed.
- Instructions for writing in a candidate would be posted in large boards outside, and small posters inside the booths.
- Votes would be counted as always.
- Votes for candidates found to be ineligible would be discarded as always.
- Voters have to think before they vote.
- They can't assume someone is qualified because of the line they're running on, because nobody's listed.
- Candidates will have to really work to win a seat, like Jeff Logan did.
I can't wait to see the reasons people won't like this idea, because I predict that they will mostly be thinly-veiled suggestions that people aren't actually smart enough to vote without help. That's where the Founding Fathers went wrong with the Electoral College, and I challenge anyone to use the "stupidity clause" and put their name to it.
Of course, the pen I was given stopped writing almost immediately, which could mean that the candidate chose promotional products poorly, or it could be an ominous portent. We shall see.