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Monday, November 7, 2011

No Free Democracy in Town of Poughkeepsie Elections

Thomas Hobson, for
whom the "Hobson's
choice" is named.
In this post, I am going to take a break from talking about issues of national prominence, and focus on something a bit closer to home - tomorrow's local elections. If you don't live in my town, feel free to apply this to your own local election. 

In the Town of Poughkeepsie, a whopping seven of the 13 races that we will be voting on tomorrow feature a candidate running unopposed. In stark contrast to the free democracy we are supposed to be, these elections are a Hobson’s Choice. That is, we may in theory have a free choice as to who to vote for, but there is only one option. Either vote for “that guy” or don’t vote at all. But there is one way to fight the system. An election with two or more candidates, neither of whom you particularly care for wouldn't exactly be a Hobson's choice, but this option would still be available to you, so don't fear. So here's what to do.

Under New York State law, there is no restriction on who is eligible as a write-in candidate. So this Tuesday, instead of bubbling in the circles next to candidates like William Grady, Tom Tancredi, and Stephen Krakower, fill in the circle in the line that says “Write-in”. Then, just write in whoever YOU think is right for the job. Yourself, your neighbor, your friend, or that six-year old from down the block who always helps you out.  The choice is up to you. The candidates on the ballot are basically telling us to “take it or leave it”. Let us vote to leave it. 

Note: The Board of Elections will tally the number of write-ins total, but will not count the number of write-ins for an individual unless the number of write-ins is greater than the number of votes for the next-leading candidate. So, in all likelihood, your neighbor will never know you voted for him unless you let him know.

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