Don't take voting too seriously

October 29, 2002|by TIM ROWLAND

Someone mentioned the other day that he'd heard a couple of people ask when I was going to write about the election and give them an idea for whom they should cast their ballots. I slapped my forehead in disgust at my forgetfulness and said, "For crying out loud, here it is a week before the election and I have not yet told the people how to vote."

Here's how to vote: Don't. Everybody moans about low voter turnout. Voter turnout, voter schmurnout. I could care less. In fact, you should not go to the polls because - and someone needs to tell you this - you are not qualified. You probably don't know the difference between Don Munson and John Munson. Be honest, you probably won't know which delegate race you are able to vote in until you get to the polls. I know I don't.

So stay home. Spend some quality time with the dog. Open a bag of Cheetos and take your cordless out on the stoop and enjoy the fall air.


Studies show 14 percent of Washington Countians are educated past high school. That's the voter turnout we should be aiming for. Anything greater than that and the quality of the vote starts to decline. And speaking of qualified, I'm not certain I'm entirely qualified to offer any advice.

See, while most people vote for "issues," I tend to vote for "scenarios." For example, if there is anyone left from the old Mumma family of Antietam fame, I'd hope they would form a ticket with Del. Don Elliott of Frederick, Md., and Del. Cas Taylor of Cumberland, Md. I'm sure this Mumma-Cas-Elliott team would revolutionize government.

Here's another example. Delegate candidate Bob Bruchey and Sen. Don Munson can't stand one another. I think it has something to do with the time that Munson almost botched plans for a new college campus downtown, and Bruchey told a public gathering that he thought the project would still fly so long as, "we can get Senator Munson to keep his mouth shut."

Yes, I think that did indeed have something to do with it. So obviously, we desperately need both of these men sitting together on the same delegation in Annapolis. This is not a time to vote on merits and go with someone like Mary Newby. This is a time to vote strictly on potential for public meltdowns.

I also strongly consider IQ when I go to the polls, that being ignorance quotient. I need to put bread on the table and, frankly, the dumber the officeholder, the better it is for business, if you know what I'm saying. Take the County Commissioners race. If you ask a candidate what they think of the Thornton Commission, and the candidate responds, "I think they were too quick to pin all the blame on Oswald," that person has my vote locked up.

Candidate paranoia goes a long way toward attracting my vote. I was walking past our interview room last week and saw Del. Bob McKee and a reporter with a tape recorder in between them. Later I remarked to the reporter, "I didn't know you taped your interviews" and she said it wasn't her tape recorder, it was his.

McKee's incarnation as Linda Tripp gives me great hope for the future. It might be like when you see Munson and happen to "mention in passing" that you were just down at the printers and boy, ha ha, they must have made a big mistake because they were printing up a bunch of "Chris Shank for State Senate" brochures.

And for the record, I'm fully in favor of this "creeping school boardism," in which two incumbent board members are now seeking to infiltrate the County Commissioners by bloodless coup. My enthusiasm is tempered because both Dori Nipps and Herb Hardin (yes, THAT Herb Hardin) have been making sense on the issues, and I frown on that to the extreme.

So go to the polls if you must, but do me a favor; don't vote with your head, vote with your funny bone.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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