The primary is tomorrow, and I wanted to make sure I was making good decisions when I vote, so I pulled up the sample Democratic ballot for my district. I was pretty sure I wanted to vote against Thad McClammy, because I despise his actions on the House Financial Services committee stalling payday and title loan reform. Also, I’ve sent him several hand-written letters this year and haven’t received a single response from his office. But I wasn’t sure how the other candidate, City Council member Tracy Larkin, felt on the issue. So I pulled up his website. No answers there. And I called the number listed. Nobody answering the day before the election, and the response I got was “The mailbox belonging to Tracy Larkin is full and is not accepting messages at this time.” Hmm. If he can’t empty his mailbox, is this really the person I want to represent me?
There’s a bigger puzzle on the ballot, though. Evidently I’ll be asked to vote for positions on the State Democratic Executive Committee. I wasn’t sure what district I was in or who the candidates were, so I investigated. I pulled up the website for the Alabama Democrats and browsed around their collection of stock photos. Should be easy to find out at least what district I’m in, right? Nope – the link takes you to information about the Randolph County Chair. I think I’m in District 76, same as my House District, but I’m not sure, and there’s no information on their site about that. Neither is there information about the folks running for the various slots. Why? I looked online in vain for their policy statements or any information that would help me make a decision about who to vote for. Nope.
I called the party offices to ask about this election. A nice man named John told me that yes, my district was the same as my House district. Good to know. I asked how I would find information about the candidates to make a decision about who to vote for. He said he had no idea. “Not a lot of people put any effort into it,” he said. “You might check their Facebook pages.” Hmm. I asked what this office involved. “They vote on bylaws and help shape the party. They don’t receive a salary.” I got the distinct impression that I was one of the only people ever to have asked about this. I checked their Facebook pages. As best I can tell from their private Facebook pages, Montgomery’s Fred F. Bell likes Dole and uses an app called “Glu.” Clint Daughtrey works for AEA and has a profile picture posing with a topiary made to look like Goofy. Now that’s some quality voter education.
No matter what you think about Alabama politics, most people agree that it’s a good idea to have at least two functional parties to spur competition over ideas and policies. In the modern era, most people get their information online. It’s terrible that the Democratic Party website is so bad. Their last blog post was in February.
Anyone out there have an opinion on the race between Fred F. Bell and Clint Daughtrey?