There's a moral conundrum; Is it better to vote in ignorance, or to hold your tongue?
The Gov says if you aren't familiar with a measure, it's probably better to vote no. Jack Billion disagrees:
Read it all here in the Rapid City Journal.
Gov. Mike Rounds says he will vote to raise tobacco taxes and keep video lottery, but he says people who don't understand issues that will be on the Nov. 7 ballot should vote against them.
Democratic challenger Jack Billion says he also will vote to increase tobacco taxes and keep video lottery, but he says it's bad advice to urge people to vote no on issues they may not understandand..
I (Rounds) just simply tell people, 'Look, if you don't have an opportunity to look at it, and if you don't have the opportunity to really study the issues, it's always better to just vote no than it is to go back in and take a chance and guess.'"
That's especially true with tax measures, Rounds said, because those issues have been carefully examined by the Legislature in many cases.
"If the Legislature rejects it, there must be a reason why it's rejected, and in a lot of cases, it's difficult to put a lot of that down in (a ballot) explanation," the governor said. "Unless they have a really personal, strong feeling on it and they feel very comfortable with it, it's better to simply vote no."
Billion said that's too simple an answer in a state that allows citizens to initiate and refer laws and that presumes voters will understand the issues.
"One might suggest that as an intelligent voter, we're supposed to study the issues and make our decisions. It seems to me that's how the system was set up," Billion said. "He seems to be saying it's all right to ignore issues, and that's a pretty simplistic response."
Jack seems to be presuming a level of engagement in all voters that he demands of himself. And he couldn't be more out of touch. The Gov is saying, if you don't know, it's probably best to vote no. Jack is saying they're supposed to know without giving creedence to the possibility they might have no idea.
It's a long ballot this year. OF COURSE THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT UP ON ALL OF THE BALLOT MEASURES! Jeez. Even I'm not that pollyanish.
And I realize that no matter how much I want people to know about the evils of amendment E, there are going to be a ton of people who don't. Would Jack rather have them vote "yes?" Of course not.
To me, for those who are ignorant on the issues, the next best thing to voting No on the amendment measures would be to abstain. But, the rub is I (and most certainly they) wouldn't want to be disinfranchised because of ignorance. And then, we're left with a mental flip of the coin for those who didn't bother to learn.
So, who is right? Jack or Mike?