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Here’s How I’m Voting August 5 (with printable grid of ballot measures) *Update*
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You’d think being a political animal of sorts, election season would be my favorite time of year.

It’s not. I hate elections.

I hate the crappy, predictable radio ads (above all else). I know, they do it because it works. Well, not really, but I’m not going to give a free marketing statistics lesson here. (No one has any idea if the campaign formula works, because no body ever tries anything different.)

When Will Consultants Study Science?

There are scientifically indicated ways to increase voter turnout and scientifically indicated ways to influence undecided voters, but they’re seldom used, mostly because they’re hard work. Instead, consultants do the same things over and over for safety. It’s pretty simple: if a consultant tries something different and the candidate loses, people will blame the consultant for trying the novel “unproven” new approach. So consultants trot out crappy conversational radio commercials and rooster calls. I’m sure the consultants know it’s not scientific and probably doesn’t work, but it’s safe, and Republicans LOVE safe. So do Democrats.

Someone actually did try some scientifically indicated election methods. The Democrats in Colorado about a decade ago, and they turned a Red state Blue. But they also displaced a lot of traditional Democrat consultants in the process, as if that’s a bad thing. It’s chronicled in the book The Blueprint, which everyone who actually does like elections must read. (You might also try Victory Lab while you’re reading about scientific election tactics.)

The Moment No One’s Been Waiting For

I tell you all this to let you know that I HATE writing these posts. I don’t expect anyone to blindly follow my example, especially considering my example could get you arrested in Scotland. (Fodder for another post.) I’m not mentioning uncontested races except for State Auditor, because Tom Schweich is decent enough of a guy to actually ask me for my support and vote. (It’s very refreshing that he doesn’t assume.) So here’s my list:

State Auditor: Tom Schweich

County Executive: Tony Pousosa

US House, 3rd District: John Morris (not my district, but people keep asking)

Now, for the ballots. Here’s a link to a printable copy of this list. You’re welcome to copy and distribute as you’d like.

Title Subject Description My Vote Comments
Amendment 1 Agriculture Guarantees farmers and ranchers the right to engage in their livelihoods, produce food for others MEH Don’t get worked up about this one. I get the point of this amendment, but it’s so vague and meaningless I expect the courts to rule it null and void.*
Amendment 5 Firearms Establishes the right to keep and bear arms, ammunition and accessories YES This is a great amendment. Good job, Ron Calzone.
Amendment 7 Taxes Increases state sales and use taxes for 10 years to fund transportation projects NO Missouri has the seventh or eighth best roads in the country, and this money won’t go to repair roads and bridges, anyway. It’s been earmarked for parks, greenways, bike paths, and airports.
Amendment 8 Lottery Creates new lottery ticket with profits going toward veterans’ programs NO I’m a veteran. Veterans are great. But lotteries are regressive taxes designed to fool people who can’t do math. Have the courage to raise a tax or don’t. Stop tricking people.
Amendment 9 Civil Rights Protects electronic data from unreasonable searches and seizures YES This amendment might not stop the NSA, but I’m voting for it, anyway.

If I were Heritage Action, I’d key vote Amendment 5, Amendment 7, and Amendment 9. Vote the wrong way on just one, and you fall below the House Republican average. So be careful out there on August 5.

Also, there’s a Libertarian in many, many races in Missouri. Most are unopposed. If the GOP candidate is unpalatable, there’s no need to vote a straight party ticket. Just sayin’.

UPDATE: People are wondering just what I mean by “meh” on Amendment 1, so here’s the deal. This amendment is so meaningless that voting for it shows a disrespect for the law and for the Missouri Constitution, so I’m going to vote no.

On the other hand, if someone can convince me that Amendment 1 legalized hemp farming, I’ll vote for it.

******** original post continues*******

Now, some bonus material.

How To Make Someone Vote (Even If They Don’t Want To)

Don’t forget, if you want someone to vote, here’s the conversation you need to have:

“Do you see yourself voting next Tuesday?”

The will likely say “yes,” even if they don’t even know there’s an election. And use the phrase “seeing yourself” because it forces them to visualize the act of voting, like saying “don’t think about a pink elephant.”

“Do you know where your polling place is?”

They’ll say “yes,” because they don’t want to look stupid.

“What time do you think you’ll vote?”

This forces them to plan and commit to a time of day. And it reinforces their visualization of voting. And finally:

“What will you be doing immediately before you go to vote?”

This causes their minds to plan and organize their day around voting.

Research shows this 4-question method actually increases voter turnout. Almost nothing else works. I know it’s a bit convoluted, but it works. Here’s more

Even when we control for alternative sources of similar behavior, such as having the same income, education, ideology, or level of political interest, the typical subject is about 15 percent more likely to vote if one of his discussion partners votes. But does this influence spread beyond that to the rest of the network? As it turns out, we see a correlation between people who are directly connected and also between people who are indirectly connected via a common friend. In other words, if you vote, then it increases the likelihood that your friends’ friends vote as well.

Christakis, Nicholas A.; Fowler, James H. (2009-09-09). Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives (p. 185). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

See you at the polls.

  • Bill,

    The Brady Campaign has been chomping at the bit to do what we are doing in Amendment 5 for two years and counting, and now WE on the supposed libertarian/conservative side of the issue in Missouri are doing it for them. Notice how they now clamor for mental health screening instead of gun control after a mass shooting?

    http://www.bradycampaign.org/brady-campaign-releases-policy-recommendation-made-to-white-house-task-force

    I’m curious if you are comfortable attaching mental health qualifications, as Amendment 5 constitutionally allows with our gun rights, to other rights like freedom of speech, assembly, etc. Will it be OK for the government to require some type of mental health assessment of participants before issuing a permit for a future tea party rally? What about for participation in a Christian group on a college campus? Allowing the government to have this type of power over us for one right will open the door for similar restrictions on other rights in the future.

    http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2014ballot/SJR36.pdf

    What’s up next for our Missouri “pro-gun” lobby? FOID cards like they have in Illinois, but only for those determined to be mentally healthy by the state? Careful – Tea Party members may be at risk, we’re already on certain government lists…

    – Jim

    • Jim,

      I rely on people I trust on many issues. I am definitely not an expert on constitutional gun rights laws.

      For gun rights, I consistently turn to Ron Calzone at Missouri First. Here’s what he says in this important blog post promoting Amendment 5:

      As attorney Chuck Hatfield has pointed out, the SCOTUS and Missouri courts have used what amounts to the rational basis test when examining laws that infringe on the tight to keep and bear arms.

      The bottom line is that everyone — including convicted felons and those accused of being mentally infirmed, for the first time in Missouri history, will enjoy the defense of the strongest legal standards. Chuck Hatfield is one of Missouri’s sharpest attorneys and he has explained, here, the very legal mentality Amendment 5 is designed to thwart.

      I believe that SJR 36 / Amendment 5 provides the road map for constraining the courts to properly respect and defend our rights in a LOT of areas. They SHOULD already be using strict scrutiny, the highest standard of review, where ALL our rights are concerned.

      I guess, then, my answer is ‘yes,’ I am comfortable that Amendment 5 increases Missourians’ gun rights.

      I would also point out that none of our unalienable rights are absolute. The mentally disabled are often denied liberty and pursuit of happiness. So are convicts. But we require the strictest interpretation of the law before committing an incompetent or incarcerating a felon.

      Yes, I am very confident that Ron Calzone would not endorse an amendment that failed to meet the strongest standards of protection for Missouri gun owners.

      • Bill,

        Then by your definition rights truly are NOT unalienable, but subject to government approval.

        One should only lose “unalienable” rights when when acting or having acted in a way that directly threatens the unalienable rights of others. Yelling “fire” in a theatre in an overt act that is intended to cause panic with potential resultant harm to others (i.e. it threatens others’ right to life or safety) therefore that specific ACT should not be protected as an “right”. Amendment 5 gives the legislature and the courts the power to regulate firearms ownership based on general laws passed by the legislature. So after an Adam Lanza incident, all young men playing video games in their mother’s basement, the vast majority of whom are completely harmless, could be declared “mentally infirm” by the legislature under an Amendment 5 “general” law.

        The argument should be about whether or not the constitutional language is sound, NOT about which lobbyist supports it. The AMA supported Obamacare, is that a reason that WE should support it? Surely they wouldn’t support a bill that is detrimental to patients…Isn’t the blind faith members on the left place in Obama one of our primary frustrations. Let’s not do this ourselves with lobbyist who purport to be protecting any of our rights. They ALL need to be watched, wouldn’t you agree?

        Additionally, our constitution should be written for and by WE THE PEOPLE, not attorneys like Hatfield with language inntended to posture for a future legal case. We need simplicity and clarity in the language of our governing documents that ordinary people can understand that clearly defines the limits and power of governmental, not more legal jibberish written by and for the political and legal classes.

        Calzone and Hatfield seem to be taking us down a slippery slope of defining who has constitutional rights based on the government’s approval of a person’s mental health. What do you think Jefferson and Madison would say about this? Afterall, the founders were considered “revolutionary” and probably in the eyes of many were thought to be somewhat “mentally infirm” at the time.

        – Jim

        • Jim wrote:

          Then by your definition rights truly are NOT unalienable, but subject to government approval.

          Not by my definition, Jim, by looking around. Do we not commit the severally mentally disabled? Do we not incarcerate convicts?

          Every organization that supports gun control opposes Amendment 5. That should tell you something. Here’s an example.

          The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board, which wants to ban almost all guns, believes Amendment 5 expands gun rights:

          The St. Louis Post-Dispatch argued that the courts involved in the lawsuit against Amendment 5 should send the matter back to the legislature, saying,
          “ Amendment 5 would add ammunition and gun accessories to constitutionally protected status. It would make these new rights “unalienable,” and require the courts to apply “strict scrutiny” to any challenges to gun laws. This last part is hugely significant, as it could lead to existing prohibitions against dangerous felons from possessing guns to be tossed out. A judge in Louisiana, which recently passed a similar amendment, already made such a ruling. […] Send the initiative back to the Legislature and let the lawmakers try to fix it. That would take the amendment off the August ballot, but better for the Legislature to get it right (if it can, which is always a crapshoot) than to deceive voters into changing the state constitution in a potentially dangerous way.[6]

          I’ll end this conversation with this: I have considered your arguments and find them insufficient to change my mind. I am voting Yes on Amendment 5.

          • Bill,

            I’ll end with this, should this amendment pass:

            If you and others are correct we have gained the addition of minor substantive language in the MO BoR – the explicit protection of ammunition & accessories, as well as the right to protect “family – which is probably defensible in court today in any case. The benevolent legislature, with its newly and explicitly delegated power, will NEVER pass a general “mental health” law that restricts firearm ownership for otherwise harmeless people who have committed no crime or never threatened others. The courts will alway see things our way in spite of the language enshrined in our BoR giving the state legislature the power to define “dangerously” mentally infirm should the legislature stray from its current “conservative” (see Amendment 7) ways. Everyone holds hands and sings kumba ya with the state government.

            On the other hand if I am correct and if this amendment passes, we will have given constitutional authority to the state to legislatively strip us of a right through passage of an arbitrary “general” (whatever this means) law defining “mental health”. At this point we will have NO RECOURSE through the courts since we will have transferred power over this right to the state legislature; the courts will follow the constitutional language in this instance. So for a minor gain in the language of Amendment 5 we will have traded the constitutional tranfer of power to a possible future rogue anti-gun legislature, giving the state the ability to regulate and/or deny EVERYBODY’S right to keep and bear arms through “general” mental health laws.

            The question at hand is whether the small gain in the language of Amendment 5 is worth the risk of constitutionally allowing the government to decide who gets to enjoy a God-given “unalienable” right; essentially implying that this right and all others are “government granted” rather than “unalienable”. To this I say a resounding “NO”, for us and for our future generations.

            I’ll close with two thoughts here:

            1. How many political dissidents throughout history in the Soviet Union, China, and other communist countries have been declared “mentally infirm” by the government then locked away?

            2. Do you think that “tea party” leaders might be at the TOP OF THE LIST of those considered “mentally infirm” by the anti-gun left who may some day regain control of the legislature? You/we are already at the top of many of those type lists and I would prefer to stay off of one that can be arbitrarily used to constitutionally strip us of this right or any others.

            We never get back rights we give up or powers we delegate to the state. Amendment 5 does more to transfer power to the state through “general” mental health laws than it does to protect any right or rights. This is why I will firmly vote “NO” on Tuesday.

            – Jim

  • The Unablogger

    I had already decided how to vote on the amendments, and I’m happy that you and I agree on all (except I’m voting against Amendment 1 because we can’t vote MEH.) All the candidates for 1st District Congress look good, but I’m picking Martin Baker, who has attended Tea Party events. As a City resident, I can’t vote for County Exec, but I would observe that there is no real need to cross over to the Democratic Primary, because Stenger, when running his trophy wife’s losing campaign for JUCO trustee, trashed the Tea Party.

    • Great additions, Unablogger. I should have mentioned Martin Baker. http://www.martinbakerforcongress.com/

      • Thanks! Please tell me what MEH stands for.

        • Indifference. It’s like a verbal shoulder shrug.

          Bart Simpson is credited with the first use of the term, but I think it’s just sound we make when we want to say, “who cares?” For example: “What did you think of roast?”

          “Meh.”

  • I agree, especially about TONY POUSOSA. He is not an ESTABLISHMENT candidate. I am so tired of those ELITES in either party deciding for whom we should vote. TONY is honest, capable and will listen, as he does now, to the people. I have one change to your votes and that is FOR the farmers as the Missouri Farm Bureau is for it and I have a farm in Miller County. Also, I have lived with the farmers and appreciate their concerns about out of state influence that required this amendment. Tony has been campaigning for many months and his ideas and promises were stolen from him by the Johnny come lately candidate. BE A DAVID, fight GOLIATH and vote for TONY POUSOSA. Thank you.

    • amen

    • Chris s

      Voting for Pousosa and will be voting for amendment !. Federal government through regulations changing our country in many ways. Doesn’t hurt for Missouri to have an extra protection for our Farmers.

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