Friday, September 26, 2008

Cumberland County and Fayetteville, NC Voter Guide - November 4, 2008

Being a knowledgeable voter is not easy. Hopefully every voter knows who is running for President by now but what about your local officials? What do you know about them? Do you even know what offices you can vote for? I know I don't know them all. When it really comes down to it too, your local officials have a lot more of an affect on your day to day life which makes their selection all that more important.

The best way to know who you can vote for is to go download a sample ballot. This way you will know exactly who and what will be on your ballot in the voting booth on November 4th. You can even fill out the sample ballot and take it with you.

The first thing you should do is check your voter registration. When I last checked, there was a link to download a sample ballot there. That is the easiest way to make sure your voter registration is up to date and to get a sample ballot. Also make note of your precinct as that is how you will know where to go to vote. (Once you know your precinct go to the Cumberland County polling locations page to see where to go. Google is also working on a voter info site but it is not yet complete as of writing this.) If you don't see your registration or ballot listed, call the Cumberland County Board of Elections at 910-678-7733, tell them your name and verify your address. I asked about a way to look this up yourself on their website since Cumberland County has 34 (34!!) different ballots and was told that there should be something up to do that soon (so look before you call).

So, if you live in Cumberland County, I've listed are all the people you may be able to vote for (depending on your precinct) along with links to their campaign sites. If I could not find a campaign site, I have not linked to anything. I will update this if I find any more. I was pretty disappointed not to find many sites for most of the County Commissioners and Board of Education offices.

US President

US Senate

US Congress (District 2)

US Congress (District 7)

US Congress (District 8)


There were a number of Gubernatorial debates. Several were with Perdue and McCrory and several were with McCrory and Munger. The only debate with all three candidates was the one on October 15th. You can watch the debate with all the candidates here.

Lieutenant Governor

You can watch the NC Lieutenant Gubernatorial Debate online. This debate took place on September 17th.

Attorney General


Commissioner of Agriculture

Commissioner of Insurance

Commissioner of Labor

Secretary of State

Superintendent of Public Instruction


NC State Senate (District 19)

  • Tony Rand email (Democrat)

NC State Senate (District 21)

  • Larry Shaw email (Democrat)

NC State House (District 22)

NC State House (District 42)

  • Marvin W. Lucas email (Democrat)

NC State House (District 43)

NC State House (District 44)

NC State House (District 45)

County Commissioner (District 2)

Register of Deeds

Supreme Court Associate Justice (Edmunds Seat)

Court of Appeals Judge (Martin Seat)

  • John C. Martin

Court of Appeals Judge (Wynn Seat)

Court of Appeals Judge (Tyson Seat)

Court of Appeals Judge (McCullough Seat)

Court of Appeals Judge (Stephens Seat)

Court of Appeals Judge (Arrowood Seat)

District Court Judge (District 12) (Devan Seat)

District Court Judge (District 12) (Dickson Seat)

  • John W. Dickson

District Court Judge (District 12) (Pone Seat)

  • Ed Pone

Board of Education (Dsitrict 1)

Board of Education (Dsitrict 2)

Board of Education (Dsitrict 3)

Board of Education (Dsitrict 4)

Board of Education (Dsitrict 5)

Board of Education (Dsitrict 6)

Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor

  • Reuben Cashwell
  • D. H. Vinson
I can't find much of anything on this race but what I have found is here.

One last note, please, please don't vote a straight ticket. Evaluate each candidate for each position against the other candidate(s). If you still can't decide, just leave it blank. It is worse to vote blindly than to not vote at all. I hope this page makes your research easier and helps you to make a knowledgeable decision about who to vote for.

Other Resources

Images used in this post are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic and Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic respectively from myJon and Steve Rhodes

The Bailout Plan: A Quick Note to My Representatives

Senator Dole, Senator Burr and Congressman Hayes,

Please don't allow a rushed bailout bill to pass. We do not need to rush through legislation if it is bad legislation. I am angry that people and companies who took on too much risk may now get to transfer their losses to taxpayers while any profits get to go to them. That is not how capitalism works. If there is a bailout, which I am not sure there even should be, it should be in the form of loans that will be paid back with interest or through buying an ownership stake in the companies that need help. The stock market has opened just fine all week and will do so next week while the country has a thoughtful debate on how to best solve this issue.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The First Ever Fayetteville, NC Tweetup

I've only been on Twitter for about 5 months now. I resisted for a while because I really didn't see the point. Since then I have used Twitter daily as a news source from distant and not so distant friends, people in my community, things that interest me and even breaking national and world news.

Since moving to Fayetteville, NC about a month and a half ago, I have used Twitter even more to find people in the area and to be in the know of what is going on. I first tried but there aren't many meetups that I find very interesting in the area. The biggest one is actually the Naturism meetup which I quickly discovered was not a group for outdoor adventures like hiking/camping/etc. as I initially thought and hoped.

So back to the point of this post. Last night was the first ever Fayetteville Tweetup. I had a great time meeting all the complete strangers I had been having short conversations with for weeks and who I felt I already sort of knew. I really didn't know what to expect when I got there but Tiffani, the organizer of the event, had a little presentation about the history of social media that got us all talking. I have to say, I talked A LOT more than I thought I would. I am generally really shy so I don't know what got into me. This was of course before I knew Wayne Sutton was streaming video of the presentation live. Eek. Fortunately you can barely hear me.

It was nice to have a discussion with like minded people. This is also the first time I have really used the internet to physically meet new people. I don't think that I was afraid of it before, I just never had the need before. Being in a brand new place, working from home and only interacting my my wife and dog on a daily basis is great but I still need people to hang out with (and a disc golf partner(s)). Hopefully some tighter friendships will form from last night and upcoming Fayetteville Tweeptups. I plan to pick some brains about RoR, blogging, other geek stuff and invite myself to go rock climbing in the coming weeks and months fellow tweeps. :-)

And for more thoughts, check out some other blog posts about the event last night:
(Picture credit to Wayne Sutton, snagged from here)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The 2008 Presidential Campaign is Depressing Me

And they're off! Since the end of the Republican convention the 2008 Presidential campaigns have kicked it into high gear. I was really looking forward to this election. First, there was no way George Bush was going to win this one. Second, we have 2 candidates who looked like they were going to run positive campaigns and tell us why they should be elected instead of why their opponent shouldn't be elected. I'd much rather vote for the candidate who is going to be the best for our country instead of trying to decide which candidate is going to be least terrible.

But of course all the hopes of a positive campaign have since disappeared. Mr. 9/11 (Rudy Giuliani) got things warmed up at the Republican National Convention with personal attacks by belittling being a community organizer and misrepresentations, all with the laugh of a hyena (Giuliani RNC 2008 transcript). I could overlook that though. I knew Giuliani was an ass before his speech and was just glad he wasn't the one on the ticket. I was hopeful that Alaskan Governor and VP candidate Sarah Palin would turn us back on a positive note but she spouted out more of the same. We got the same community organizer line and more "this is why our opponent is bad" (Palin RNC 2008 transcript). Some say this was all "red meat" for the party loyalists. Fine, but party loyalists aren't the only ones watching. Undecided voters are watching too.

Moving on from the Republican convention things really got crazy though. There were all the investigations into the complete unknown Sarah Palin. Some comments surrounding her went too far but there certainly was no media conspiracy to smear her. The media was doing their job investigating an unknown candidate and all the dirt they found was all new, all at once. It is their job to keep politicians in check. Either way, the pundits can say what they want. I want the facts and then I am most interested in what candidates have to say and what their campaigns put out. What are their talking points. What are their tv and radio ads?

When we get to this phase of the campaign though, things went farther down hill. Misleading statements are flying around faster than you can keep up. I think the piece Blizzard of Lies by Paul Krugman covers all the big ones so far the best. (if you only read one link from this post, read that one) Maybe this video pointing out the distortion of the truth by the McCain campaign will enlighten you some too.

Politics are dirty and politicians lie. That is a known fact. It is so known that it is often a joke. But it is a sad joke because the truth of the matter is negative campaigning works. Look at George Bush's win in 2004 as a good example of this. We even have a new term for this now: swiftboating. The saddest part is people believe these lies and then vote based on them.

The thing this week that pushed me over the edge though was a story on NPR where voters in York, PA Examine Race. The comments in that story that really stuck in my mind were the lady who did not trust Barack Obama. Let me quote:
Leah Moreland, the woman who said she grew up sheltered from prejudice, plans to vote for McCain. Party loyalty is also part of her decision. But her cultural compass also comes into play. She says her gut tells her not to trust Obama.

"I look at Obama, and I have a question in my mind," she says. "Years ago, was he taken into the Muslim faith? And my concern is the only way you are no longer a Muslim is if you are dead, killed. So in my mind, he's still alive."

Although Barack Obama has said repeatedly he is not a Muslim and has never been a Muslim, Moreland is still unconvinced.

"There is something about him I don't trust," she says. "I don't care how good a speaker he is, I just can't trust him."
After I heard this, I cried. Seriously. The claim that Barack Obama is Muslim is a one of those lies left over from the primaries but people still believe it and that is what scares and depresses me the most. It is just not true. This lie about Obama was not enough to bring the emotion about to make me cry though. It was the combination of it being false yet people will still base their vote on it but most importantly that it doesn't matter even if he was. There is nothing bad about electing a Muslim president even if he was. I don't see our country doing that anytime soon but it isn't a bad thing if we do.

How can we have a functioning democracy without educated citizens voting? Our elections have come down to talking point and smears. Who said what and what is your life story are important when they shouldn't matter so much. We need to vote based on what candidate has the best policy and the best ability to carry out those policies.

I want the best President, not the least worst President.