Friday, November 10, 2006

Counting Votes

A Close Race
I know people who never vote because they say their vote can't make a difference. I know others who have this vision of their vote being that one vote that puts their candidate over the top. I think that sometimes both viewpoints have some validity.

In the great state of Utah I have a hard time seeing how my vote in a presidential election can make a difference when this is the reddest of the red states. I think in '92 not only did the former President Bush beat Clinton, but Perot did too.

On the other hand, we are in the midst of a recount in my state House of Representatives district. Our incumbent representative ended the election 25 votes behind the challenger. 25 votes seems to me like the equivalent of one evening shaking hands, 2-4 well placed lawn signs, or maybe an hour of calls from a poll watcher.

It is insane how this race has gone, especially when it looks like the challenger spent about $50k on the race while the incumbent spent about $15k. I like the incumbent, but I think our representation could be better. I strongly disagree with the challenger on multiple issues that are important to me, and with the amount of money she spent I am worried about her ties to several special interest groups I despise, but I think she would at least be a passionate advocate for our area.

It may be December before we find out who won.

Voting on Two Wheels
I rode to the polls; twice actually. I tried to vote early last Friday but when I got to the location the wait was about two hours. So on Tuesday I left the house about 5 after 7 in the morning and rode to the local elementary school. I was a little discouraged because I overslept and was afraid of the lines I would encounter. As it turns out I was done and back on my bike riding to work within 30 minutes.

Voting For Two Wheels
There were three propositions on the ballot, all of which dealt with parks, transportation and open space. They all three passed, which I am happy about. What I would really like to see is more discussion of complete streets and safe routes to school.

I don't know how much of an impression my showing up at the polls in cycling clothing made, but I know I am a little 'famous' both in the neighborhood and at work for commuting by bike. I know when I first started my 13-15 mile one-way commute seems like a really long way. Now, I can't imagine not doing it long term, and if I go more than a day or two without riding I can's stand it.

So, to my 3 loyal readers, a question. What should I do to help make cycling a more viable alternative in the Salt Lake City area?

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