November 12, 2020.
First, I want to thank those of you who voted for me for your support in my recent campaign for Arlington County Board. I got 30,843 votes or 26.84% of the total. The lopsided results were driven by a wave of absentee ballots cast by “blue wave” early voters, who voted a straight Democratic ticket.
However, among the minority of voters who went to the polls on Election Day, at least 50 percent voted for me in 3 precincts and at least 40 percent voted for me in 40 precincts. Arlington has 54 precincts.
The absentee results were disappointing, Yet I was would buoyed by the precinct results, which indicate that a substantial number of voters are making the effort to evaluate candidates on the merits rather than party labels.
While independent and minority party candidates are invariably punished by straight ticket voting, democracy itself is threatened by it. In fact, most states have outlawed official or de jure straight ticket ballot mechanisms in recognition of that fact.
For example, Alabama is one of just six states that allow voters to vote for a party rather than a candidate, and the defeat of Democratic Senator Doug Jones in 2020 has been attributed to it.
Clearly if de jure straight ticket voting is wrong, de facto straight ticket voting is also wrong. I pledge to do my best in the future to overcome it.