Voting on Character Means Voting Republican

So here’s a case of character-based voting–not a particularly dramatic one, I’ll admit, but a case just the same, and evidence that character-based voting can, under the right circumstances, make perfect sense. 

I recently got my mail-in ballot for the upcoming general election. One of the offices on the ballot is that of Hunterdon County Clerk (for Hunterdon County, New Jersey). The Republicans are running incumbent Mary H. Melfi as their candidate; the Democrats aren’t running a candidate this time. Assuming that I vote in this election (as I plan to), I have three options:

  1. I could vote for Melfi.
  2. I could leave the relevant part of the ballot blank.
  3. I could write someone in besides Melfi, or write something in the relevant slot, whether or not it’s the name of a candidate, up to and including a ballot-spoiling piece of profanity.

As it happens, I’m a Democrat strongly opposed to the Republican Party in its current incarnation. In previous elections where a Republican was running unopposed by the Democrats (or I was, due to a bureaucratic glitch, forced to vote Republican in a primary), I’ve either left the ballot blank, or in some way voted against the Republicans by some ad hoc expedient–e.g., making use of the write-in option, and writing “Not X” with the Republicans’ name for “X,” or writing in “NOTA” (None of the Above) in rejection of everyone on the ballot. In general, I have no problem with taking a party-line stance on voting, whether for the Democrats or against the Republicans.

In this case, however, I’ve decided to vote for Melfi on grounds of character. So yes: voting on character means voting Republican, at least in this case.

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