Election day is here! Well, primary election day. I keep a log of politicians and their votes throughout the year, and when any election rolls around, I actually know what they've been up to. But I also keep every item they mail to me. I can compare their claims from year to year, validate them against my notes, and keep track of their desperation -- as measured in negative ads.

Sometimes their mailing literature is the only thing I have to help make my decision.

I've read enough of this stuff to see the patterns. There are always vague promises ("I'll represent you!"), nebulous qualifications ("I support family values!"), sweeping goals ("I want to fix the economy!") and ambiguous accusations ("My opponent is a Washington insider who only represents special interests!"). It's as if nobody wants to say anything specific.

I try to completely ignore the attacks and negativity. I recognize the indeterminate claims for what they are: meaningless. I want to know specifically what you intend to do to fulfill your duties and achieve your goals.

Here's an example of what I'm up against. Here's the stack of literature I've received this season:

Everything: 5 deep or more (big)

And here's the literature that made a specific claim:

Useful literature: 1 deep (big)


While the claim itself was verifiable, the justifications he added to this claim were... well, not so much. Still, out of that giant pile, one decent mailer.

There was one other useful bit:

Backfire! (big)

Perhaps I'm asking too much, but I actually want my politicians to be people who can recognize the good in their opposition and their policies. I want somebody who can compromise, somebody who's willing to listen. This little bit of name-calling had the opposite of its intended effect. Thanks, Sandy Adams! I now have a reason to vote for John Mica!

Good luck in your own voting endeavors. I hope you can find the specific information you need to support a decision based on your goals, your vision, and your convictions.