Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Confusing Language and Ballot Initiatives

So yesterday me and my girlfriend participated in the rather well publicized Ohio election.

This is what the initiative read:

A majority yes vote is necessary for Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 5 to be approved.

Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 5 is a new law relative to government union contracts and other government employment contracts and policies.

Other initiatives contained considerably more explanatory language.  The brevity of the language for issue 2 was confusing, my girlfriend voted the opposite way she intended because while she had been reading about the bill and remembered the general issues involved she couldn't remember the particulars.  A simple line about the bill pertaining to restricting collective bargaining rights would have led her to voting the way that she intended to vote.

This is generally a problem with ballot initiatives.  Given their brevity it is very easy to write them in a way that leads to misvoting.  It would be very beneficial if more comprehensive information was made readily available at the polling places, and even in the voting booth, for voters to refresh themselves on the content of these initiatives.  It can be difficult for even a politically savvy person to weigh them properly once at the booth and its especially likely for someone to slip up after a long day of work when they are already tired.  More information is badly needed.

As an aside, I am still baffled by the opposition to the ACA.  Issue three passed, I just fail to comprehend what it does to preserve choice.  Having moved recently I've been trying to deal with buying insurance on the existing market, such as dental insurance, and it is a major pain in the rear end.  It's hard to find information and the companies don't seem to believe they'd benefit from giving more information to consumers.  Health care exchanges would make this task far easier, avoiding the free rider problem through mandates would make things far cheaper.  I just don't comprehend the opposition, our health care system is the biggest problem facing America today and the opposition to doing anything to fix it is beyond bizarre.  Somehow the belief is prevalent that the problem can magically fix itself by just leaving things be, despite getting worse year after year.  We've seen dozens of countries get their health care system under control, yet, we're unwilling to attempt tried and true methods to fix our problems.  It's beyond me.

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