It’s October!

Election Day is just over a month away. Mail and sample ballots will be arriving soon. But you don’t have to wait to find out what will be on your ballot. You can view your sample ballot right now.

How? Go to, click on “Am I Registered?” on the left side of the brown bar, fill in the information requested on the next page, click “Submit,” and then on the next page, under “Future Elections,” in the blue box labeled “2014 General Election,” click the words “Sample Ballot.”

As I wrote before, I will be researching many of the candidates and issues on my ballot between now and Election Day, and sharing how I will vote. In this post, in the interest of getting information out as soon as possible, I’ll let you know how I’ll be voting in those cases where I’ve already made my decision, and what I plan to do between now and Election Day in those cases where I haven’t.

These are the items on my ballot and where I stand on my voting decisions, as of today:

  • Governor and Lieutenant Governor: I’ll vote for Charlie Crist and Annette Taddeo. No question. I’m a progressive and my values are more aligned with the Democratic Party platform than those of the alternatives when it comes to state government issues in Florida.
  • Attorney General: I’ll vote for George Sheldon. See my prior post. Incumbent Pam Bondi is a progresssive’s nightmare.
  • Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Agriculture: I’m still undecided. The incumbents have good resumes, seem to have performed well in their first terms, and I know nothing about their challengers. I want to make informed decisions and not just vote the (Democratic) party line.
  • District Court of Appeal: I’ll vote yes for the retention of Judges Altenbernd, Silberman and Sleet. See my prior posts here and here.
  • School Board District 3: I’ll vote for Kathy Ryan. She’s highly qualified, and I disagree with some of the values and priorities of her opponent, Erika Donalds. See my prior post.
  • Soil and Water Conservation Group 4 and Group 5: I’m still undecided. I’ve completed my usual web-based research, and requested meetings with the four candidates for the two nonpartisan positions. By Friday, I’ll have met with the two incumbents. I have not had a reply to my invitations from either of the challengers.
  • North Naples Fire District Seat 4 and North Naples/Big Corkscrew Fire District Merger: I have no opinion yet on the North Naples Fire District race, and I’m undecided but leaning in favor of the merger. I’ve completed my web-research, and plan to attend one of the upcoming Community Meetings later this month to hear first-hand about the merger, have the opportunity to ask questions, and – hopefully – meet the candidates. If I feel it’s necessary after that, I’ll request one-on-one meetings. 
  • Amendment 1 – Water and Land Conservation: I’ll vote yes to fund the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to acquire, restore, improve, and manage conservation lands, along with 1000 Friends of Florida, the Alliance of Florida Land Trusts, the American Planning Association, Audubon Florida, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, and countless more. See the list here.
  • Amendment 2 – Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions: I’ll vote no. I do not believe the use of marijuana is something that should be included in the Constitution. Rather, I beleive it should be governed by state statute, as is public health and the use of alcoholic beverages and tobacco. I’ve read strong opinions both for and against the amendment, by people and professional organizations (health care workers, law enforcement, etc.) who know much more about the potential risks and rewards than I do. If citizens are unhappy that their elected officials will not pass such a law, they should elect different representatives, but I don’t think amending the Constitution is the way to go on this issue.
  • Amendment 3 – Prospective Appointment of Certain Judicial Vacancies: I’m still undecided. According to the Tampa Tribune:

Making appointments to the Florida Supreme Court and to state appellate courts are among the most lasting and consequential decisions that governors make. Jurists on the state’s highest courts often serve for decades and are called upon to decide some of the most pressing issues of the day. School vouchers, abortion restrictions and death penalty appeals represent just a tiny sampling of the far-reaching questions they are called upon to decide. That’s why the fate of Amendment 3 on the November ballot has broad implications.

This is an important issue, and one I want to fully understand before casting my vote. I will read the amendment carefully, research the pros and cons, read the editorial opinions and then decide.

That brings you up to date on my plans for my research and blogging for the next month or so. I look forward to your comments.


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