Sunday, November 11, 2018

Election Results Thoughts 2018

I'm actually not going to opine on some of the larger races and issues. Frankly, there's enough bluster in the media that you don't need to hear one more talking head about this or that being a big deal or a small deal. Instead, I'm going to focus on some things that stood out to me as very interesting.

For starters, I have voted in four states (Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Colorado) and Colorado is clearly the best to vote in! Weeks before the election they send out an 80+ page book (that thin 8.5"x11" brown paper like you might get from an investment once a year) that describes the issues with a short 1/3 page summary, several pages in more detail, and finally a brief "for" and "against" section with opinions on the measure. Then they send out the actual ballot before election day. I filled out my 2.5 pages of ballot sitting at my coffee table and it took 2.5 hours to research all of the issues and candidates that I voted for. It was great! Every time in the past I have walked into the voting booth to see those 1-3 pages of ballot with minuscule descriptions of ballot measures, with the pressure of people waiting to get into the voting booth, I wasn't that educated of a voter. There would always be some issue where I would read the two sentence description and vote based on that alone, not sure what it really meant. With the Colorado book guide to the measures I had pages to read to determine what I thought about each measure.

Funny story, on Tuesday Colorado as a state voted not to restrict oil rig locations any more than they are currently. (The measure was more or less to push back oil rigs from 500 feet to 2500 feet from houses and other developments, which would greatly cut down on oil drilling along the front range.) Ironically, on Wednesday an oil rig about 20 miles east of my apartment caught fire.

We in Colorado, by a vote of 65.4% to 34.6% voted to end unpaid labor for criminals serving time in prison. In other words, we voted to end slavery. It's worth mentioning, more than a third of voters did not vote to end slavery.

The second biggest landslide in the state was more than 70% of voters voting in favor of an independent commission to handle redistricting. That's great because competitive districts are fun and gerrymandered ones are not.

The biggest landslide was more than three quarters of voters voting to restrict payday loan interest rates to a max of 36% annually. If a company can't make money lending at a 36% interest rate (which is what the against argument was opining) it is doing something wrong.

Nationwide I am encouraged by two more things. Arkansas and Missouri by votes of more than 62% voted to raise minimum wage. I'm not sure that $15 an hour is the right number, and there is a argument to be made that a lower minimum wage is good because it will allow for some jobs to be economically viable and thus more people employed, but I like the fact that we the people are saying, it takes more than 40 hours a week of $7.25 an hour to afford rent, bills, and food. Finally Nebraska, Idaho, and Utah voted to expand Medicaid. I'm a fan of some sort of universal basic healthcare. I think as a wealthy country this is something that we can say, yes, our people, as a whole, have reached the point where these 187 procedures and conditions (I made that number up) are covered for everyone. I think there is still a place for private insurance and elective medical care. Perhaps my symptoms that led to my pulmonary embolism diagnosis and subsequent medication would fall into that private insurance and elective medical care, and that's okay. Maybe the criteria for conditions to be covered would be conditions that restrict people from working, I don't know. Medical debt is the number one reason people file for bankruptcy, and I think we can do better.

For those of you that voted, thank you for contributing to this democracy that we live in!

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