A beautiful day to vote endlessly.

I Voted 60 Times in Texas

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
Read More.
a | A

Americans vote far more often, on far more things, than citizens in almost every other democracy.

Here in my precinct in San Antonio, 59 offices were on the ballot, plus one question, for a total of 60 choices. The good news was that 58 of the 60 were partisan offices, and Texas has the magic button. It's easy to select a straight ticket, perfect for my voting pattern.

But it's also easy to make exceptions (the touch-screen button lights up every party candidate in every race, but you can edit each one). That was helpful, because in several cases my party fielded no candidate, so I had to choose from other candidates or leave it blank.

The nonpartisan office was for our local aquifer district. I had no idea who the candidates were, because I had seen no evidence of a campaign from either of them. I went with the one my wife supported; she knows more about local politics.

Then there was a ballot measure, something about transportation; I remember one piece of direct mail, which didn't include any politician endorsements, so how was I supposed to know if the idea was any good or not? And Texas, unlike California and some other states, doesn't publish a voter guide.

There were only a handful of campaign signs outside the entrance to the parking lot of the public school where I vote. No volunteers were handing out literature. I was second in line when I got there at around 10:30, and five of the six machines were in use; when I left, a short line of four people had formed. No "I voted" stickers on the way out, and, alas, San Antonio isn't in the bake-sale zone. (I've been obsessed with polling-place bake sales ever since I first heard about them a couple of years ago. Plus I love hearing voting stories -- please leave yours in comments below.)

Today is the fourth Election Day in my precinct this year, and the seventh of the two- and four-year cycles. We've had a total of 132 votes cast for those cycles so far, including the 60 times I marked my ballot today. Yes, that's way too many.

As always, I wish good luck to all the candidates, who are champions of the republic just for running. Though on the aquifer district race, I'll have to trust my wife.

  1. Strategic question: Should I leave it blank, vote for the minor party closest to my positions, or vote for the minor party closest to the major party I oppose, to help it be disruptive? What say you, strategic voting experts? Any important variables to consider?

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor on this story:
Katy Roberts at kroberts29@bloomberg.net