Voters should consider key factors when casting ballots

This is the time of year that I’m asked the question daily: “Whom should I vote for, Sherrie?”

Voting is a big deal in our house, so I don’t take this question lightly. I don’t like to just “give people the answer” since there is no one answer. We all vote using our own experiences and values.

I like to offer points to consider in casting a vote. Frankly, I don’t simply vote for the person I like the best or is endorsed by a particular organization. I look at several factors, some of which aren’t very exciting.

In the primary, I am particularly interested in the person’s capacity to run an effective campaign, one that can win in the general election. I never thought about this until I became a legislator. Now that I have run my own campaign a few times, I realize certain elements need to be in place to be successful.

It isn’t enough to have a great Facebook page or lots of signs. There are elements in a campaign that just need to be present to have a chance of winning. Volunteers are a very important part of any campaign. Volunteers are not just the people who get a great deal of the work done;  they are team members. These team members invest in the candidate and in turn tell and show their friends and neighbors that they care about their candidate.

A candidate has to have the ability to raise funds. As much as we would like money to not play a part in politics, that is the system we have. A mail piece can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000. Digital or TV ads cost even more.

I haven’t spent as much on my campaign the last few elections as I did in my first. The reason is simple. When I was first appointed and subsequently ran for my first election, a lot of people didn’t know me. I needed a way to get my message out to people and introduce myself to those I hadn’t yet met.

The other thing I watch in a candidate is how they conduct themselves during the campaign. I firmly believe that how a candidate behaves while campaigning is an indicator of how they are going to behave while in the position they are campaigning to have. I’ve got to wonder whether, if they embellish the truth or twist it during the campaign, is that how they are going to communicate with me as a voter?

I remember when our son was about 14; he said he was more excited to vote than to have a driver’s license. I’m not sure he meant that but it pleased us, as parents, that our child understood the importance and responsibility of voting.

The other day, after church, one of our friends announced, for my benefit, that another one of our friends wasn’t even registered to vote.  Let’s just say Rep. Sprenger made a bit of a scene right there in the pew! By the time I finished my rant on the importance of voting and the privilege we have in this country to freely express our political views, my slightly shamed friend had whipped out her cell phone and registered.

We work hard in our family to respect other’s opinions … and votes. I’m not sure my husband always votes the same way I do, but I do ask him every time I’m running to vote for me!