Early voting starts on Thursday and for those as sick of politics as I am, it couldn’t come quickly enough. As an aid to voters, I’ve come up with my personal list of how candidates can win — and mostly lose — my vote. Note: Rules are subject to change depending upon circumstances, weather and what program is being pre-empted on TV by candidate infomercials.
Here we go.
1. Under no circumstances should candidates from any party send campaign mailers to my house. The candidate who sends campaign mailers to my home will automatically lose my vote. I do not appreciate having trash arrive via U.S. Mail. If you have campaign mailers to send and simply can’t stop yourself, truck them to a recycling facility.
2. If two candidates in a particular race send campaign mailers to my house, my vote will go to the one who sends the fewest. Right now in the state Senate race between incumbent Democrat Tony Foriest and GOP challenger Rick Gunn both are relentlessly dumping their trash into my mailbox. This one will be a tossup to the end. In case of a tie, I will vote for neither. If the onslaught doesn’t stop, Alamance County will need to build a new landfill sooner than expected. Bill the state Democratic and Republican parties.
3. Do not put a campaign sign in my yard. If I ask for one, fine. But trust me, I ain’t asking for one.
4. Do put campaign signs in the yards of those who actually ask to have them. These signs are totems, in a way, that tell passersby something about the residents. They add a little color as summer green turns to winter brown. and up to Election Day these signs are useful when it comes to giving candidates name recognition or some signal that they actually care about the office they’re seeking. I like candidates who actually care about the office they’re seeking.
5. Do not let those signs stay up more than a week beyond Election Day. Those who do so lose my vote forever. After Election Day these signs are eyesores and public nuisances — not matter how attractive a candidate seems to think they are.
6. Do not tear down a sign from your opponent’s campaign for any reason or authorize your supporters to do so. Supporters who do so on their own should be barred from a candidate’s campaign forever. In the real world this is known as vandalism.
7. Absolutely refrain from going into someone’s yard to tear down the sign of a candidate you do not support. This is considered trespassing — and vandalism. If you then leave behind a sign of a candidate you support, this is considered littering. It’s also in bad taste. My friend Jim Wicker said someone took a sign from his yard and replaced it with a sign backing the other candidate. This is really inexcusable. Grow up people — if indeed that is what you are.
8. Do not call me on the telephone to conduct a poll or seek my vote. Candidates who leave recorded messages that start thusly: “Hi, I’m (insert name of candidate here) and I’d like to …” At this point I always hang up. And the offending candidate loses my vote. A candidate who actually calls might hear a whole lot more.
9. If I have to rise from my recliner during the Wake football game to answer such calls I will not only refrain from voting for that candidate but I won’t shake his or her hand the next time I see them at some unspecified festival, rodeo, car show, bake sale or rattlesnake roundup.
10. Do not knock on my door to pass out campaign information. You are an uninvited guest. Actually, unless you know me, don’t knock on my door at all. Persons who make me get up from my recliner to answer the door causing me to miss any part of a “Seinfeld” rerun or an infomercial about better ways to flatten my stomach automatically lose my vote. This goes double for people seeking to prune my trees, clean my gutters or ask me to attend church services.
11. Do ask for my vote if you see me out in public. This is proper. Candidates who do so should be prepared to answer the question: Why should I?
12. Do participate in public forums and debates. People should see the people they’re voting for in action and under pressure. It often reveals a lot.
13. Do spread your message through TV, newspapers and other media — outlets where people can actually choose to watch, listen or read — or choose not to. Voters who choose to ignore it have every right to do so. That, too, is the American Way.
14. Do get on the ballot. There are multiple chances to do so but it takes some planning and work — two essential components of a successful government official. Politicians who aren’t on the ballot will be forgotten by me on Election Day.
15. Do encourage people to vote, even if they don’t plan on voting for you. It’s the American Way.