Monday, November 5, 2012


Today, I found this article, "Poltical Campaigns and You" from the September 1972 Ensign. It was written with the intent to educate people, particularly 18 year-olds (who would be voting for the first time ever), on how to vote. It is great! I could have used this when I turned 18! 
I've listed the checklist it provides, and some of the points it makes. It's worth reading the whole thing:
  • Reason or Emotion- "Fight to drain your decision of emotion. If you feel strongly about an issue, ask yourself why. If you can’t repeat back substantive reasons for your stance based on facts, you may be motivated by undue emotion. ... Ask yourself: Does this ad portray legitimate and reasonable concern for our problems, or does it exaggerate? Am I being approached as a thinking citizen or as a frightened animal?"
  • Knowledge or Folklore- "Separate your understanding into two groups: Those facts that you can verify from credible sources (knowledge), and those you can’t (folklore). Remember which is which so you won’t use folklore in your voting decision and so you can help correct distorted ideas held by friends."
  • Issues: Legitimate or Contrived- "For each vote you intend to cast, write down what you believe to be the top five problems facing that officeholder... Now as you go into a campaign, write down the top problems each candidate appears to be emphasizing. How do the lists compare? Which candidate most closely emphasizes the problems that concern you and your neighbors? What solutions does each offer? How well thought out are the proposed solutions? How do they compare with what you personally would do to solve each problem?"
  • Image or Mirage- "Our vote is not decided entirely upon issues. A candidate’s characteristics should also be examined. Again get out your pad of paper and write down the five top traits you believe an officeholder should possess...If you get stuck trying to decide, ask yourself: Which candidate do I trust the most? And then: Why do I trust him more than the others?"
  • Strength or Weakness- "As each campaign tries to project a certain image for its candidate, ask yourself not only what they are saying, but more important why they are saying it."
  • Promise or Guarantee- "Distinguish between promises of effort and guarantees of end results. A legislator can promise to introduce legislation and work for its passage, but he isn’t in a position to guarantee it becoming law if the executive says he’ll veto it. Similarly, an executive-type officeholder can promise to ask for authority to institute certain programs, but he can’t promise they’ll become fact if his legislature resists."
  • Standing or Posturing- "Why is a certain candidate running for a particular office? On the basis of his past work, who stands to benefit? How sincere do you believe he is in the reasons he cites for his candidacy? Is he standing for office as a concerned, able citizen, or is he posturing for ego gratification?"
  • Account or Attack- "Ask yourself: Is the charge a legitimate call for accounting or a personal attack? If personal deficiencies are claimed, would they in actuality hinder the execution of duties, or are they immaterial to the office sought?"
  • Action or Reaction- "Ask yourself: Am I acting on the information I have gathered or reacting because of parents or peer group?"
  • Candidate A or Candidate B- "You have now arrived at your decision. Take whatever time you need to mull over the information you have gathered and then make a tentative choice in each race. Now search out acquaintances who have made the opposite decision. Talk with them, ask them why they are voting for their candidates, and volunteer the reasons you are voting for yours. You will find out how well you have thought through your decision."

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