Voting! Just like knocking on wood, rubbing a lucky penny, or wearing pants, it’s one of those superstitious acts that somehow makes us feel safer despite the lack of any discernible benefit.
Voting isn’t easy, of course; because only jerks care about political news, most of us have no idea what’s on the ballot or how we should vote. Making decisions is hard — and that’s why endorsements and voter guides are so great: no thinking necessary. But which one should you follow? The Guardian’s, written by conspiracy theorists? The Gate’s, written by tourists? Or the Harvey Milk Club’s, written by “temperamentals”? Making decisions is STILL hard!
So we at the Appeal have compiled all of the endorsements and voter guides that we could find, creating a mega-matrix of recommendations. (Pro tip: click on the lower left corner for a full screen view) Now you can find the people and organizations that you trust, check out their advice, and act accordingly. Here are some of our findings:
Don’t be afraid to leave your ballot blank. Almost every voter guide left a few spots blank; and some guides left all but one blank. The result: a lot of mushy-middle “no position” endorsements. That’s often a guide’s way of saying to politicians, “why the fuck are we deciding this? Isn’t that what we’re paying you crooks for?” We agree, and recommend that you leave your ballot blank on propositions about which you do not have a strong opinion.
Lots of people want to get you to vote yes. On all propositions, endorsements lean towards a yes vote. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should, too: our hunch is that people who stand to gain from these propositions will make more noise about them. For example, it’s no surprise that mid-Market merchants are urging a “yes” vote on the proposition that will allow them to erect more signs. That’s why it’s important for you to only follow the advice of organizations that you trust, do the opposite of the ones that you hate, and ignore the rest as too biased to trust.
The fewer endorsements a group makes, the more likely they are to urge a yes. We stripped out recommendations from groups that endorsed fewer than 3 propositions, and found that in most cases, low-endorsement groups were more likely to urge a yes vote. So, for example, the Warfield Theater is more likely to urge a yes on its one pet proposition; while the Gate’s more exhaustive recommendations are more likely to include advice to vote no. That backs up our previous hunch: even though the majority lean towards yes on all measures, a lot of those yes votes are from biased sources.
There are also people running for office. But they’re incumbents running unopposed, so unless one of them dies or is caught smoking at a bar or falls off of the bridge onto a Ryder truck they’re pretty much guaranteed to win. Also, there is apparently some radio station board election going on at KPFA and the Green Party is strongly opposed to any of the candidates on the “Concerned Listeners” slate being elected, oh good grief.