The Republican ballot tacks on five of them; the Democrats have four. Since there are no “contests” on the Dem side, most voters will encounter the GOP pop quiz ... and probably heavily skip them.
After all, these are purely advisory in nature and mostly dull as dishwater — well, given the “hot topics” regarding the direction of legislation encountered in many other places. Legalize gay marriage? Decriminalize marijuana for personal use? Why even risk asking such things in this state and being surprised?
Some voters may take these questions seriously, thinking they will actually create new laws/policies. They won’t and don’t. Mainly they are intended to provide reinforcement to existing rhetoric by politicians or provide them with “cover” for avoiding an issue — “the people didn’t overwhelmingly say they wanted that.”
And some are booby trapped (right to life starts at “earliest biological beginning”) just like many real referendum questions are, with somewhat disguised intention.
Mostly this “survey” does little but raise the one question nobody will see on this ballot:
What the blazes are state/local taxpayers doing basically funding a poll that these same political entities conduct all the time themselves ... and pay for?
COME TO THINK of it, on those ballot contests designed to winnow down a party’s own candidates to one for each office why should all the taxpayers — including those of the other party or belonging to none — pay for most of this process? Shouldn’t the parties just hold their own “town meetings” across the state for registered/enrolled adherents to pick their guy/gal for each office? Some states actually do it that way.
Or, another interesting thought, if such elections are “general” to narrow the field down to two for November, shouldn’t all voters get to pick their preferred candidate in both parties so there’s more of an actual choice in the grand finale?
Given that the poll questions are pretty much meaningless, there’s little reason to offer readers a preferred direction on them, although a couple of observations appear in order.
On the Republican side the five questions are:
1. Should Georgia have casino gambling with funds going to education?
2. Do you support ending the current practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators by imposing a $100 cap on such gifts?
3. Should active-duty military personnel who are under the age of 21 be allowed to obtain a Georgia weapons carry license?
4. Should citizens who wish to vote in a primary election be required to register by their political party affiliation at least thirty (30) days prior to such primary election?
5. Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide that the paramount right to life is vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency?
On the Democratic side they are:
1. Should the Georgia Constitution be amended to allow the state to override locally elected school boards’ decisions when it comes to the creation of charter schools in your county or city?
2. Do you support ending the current practice permitting unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators?
3. Should Georgia adopt an income-tax credit for home-energy costs to support the economic security of our families?
4. Should Georgia reduce sales taxes on “made in Georgia” products so as to support the growth of small businesses in our state?
EVERYBODY knows how the gift one will turn out. The public has opinionated on that one already — a recent GOP poll, of the paid variety, found 82 percent of the public wanted this “ethics problem” repaired even though most top Republican leaders don’t see it as a problem at all. Of course, those are heavily the politicians on the receiving end of such largesse.
The Democratic question on charter schools is simply a preview of coming attractions — there’s a November constitutional question to do pretty much that very thing. Democrats may just want to gauge how extra hard they will have to work to defeat it.
The GOP party registration proposal is plainly aimed at seeking support for limiting the primary to only the party faithful and eliminating the “crossover” sure to affect one-sided primaries such as is upcoming. It would also, of course, further disenfranchise an electorate that is already precluded from seeing libertarians, communists or independents, etc., in this winnowing process. By the way, proving the value of polls, a recent Gallup one found that in the U.S. communism (13 percent pro) is now more popular than Congress (12 percent).
The GOP casino query seeks to find a hiding place for the governor and others who oppose what seems like a rising general public sentiment among more than just Republicans in favor of casinos (like the ones in other states where so many Georgians now go) ... and racetracks. This newspaper, by the way, has supported exploring this addition for quite a few years now.
THE GUN-TOTING one for service personnel under 21 is totally logical, but deftly avoids the issue of whether they should be allowed to buy alcohol if under 21 as well. All in the military, for those who don’t know, carry a photo ID saying they are in service so an exception to “under age” checking would be easy.
The anti-choice and pro-life survey is mostly there as raw meat for the core party faithful; the only surprise is that the GOP didn’t ask: “Do you trust God?”
The Democratic ones on “made in Georgia” and family tax credits for energy are worth a smile when noting: Isn’t this the sort of thing the economy-centered GOP should have thought up to ask?
If this is an indication of where these two main parties have their priorities, that sure doesn’t mesh with most rhetoric.
In any case, depending on what party ballot is chosen on July 31, no advice from this or any quarter is warranted. Saying yea or nay won’t matter at all. Those questions receiving majority support will not make it to the November ballot.