Monday, October 13, 2008

Presidential Election, Registering to Vote, and the Questions

The presidential election is just three weeks away. If you're a Massachusetts resident, you have until Wednesday, October 15 to register to vote.

The three ways to register:
While the presidential question (McCain/Palin vs. Obama/Biden) looms large, there is more at stake this election than just who will be the leader of the free world. You should have received a voting information brochure in the mail a few weeks ago. The questions on the MA ballot are as follows:

Question 1: Whether or not the state of MA should reduce its state income tax to 2.65%. A "yes" would support this change, a "no" would indicate you do not support the change.

Question 2: A reduction in the legal penalties for persons holding 1 oz or less of marijuana. (Details are on this website.) A "yes" indicates that you would support this new systems of penalization, a "no" vote would make no change to the current laws.

Question 3: This question is in regards to dog racing (typically greyhounds). A "yes" vote would support a ban on dog racing in which betting occurs, effective Jan. 1, 2010. A "no" vote would make no changes to the current system of dog racing in Massachusetts.

If you're one of those kids (who is 18+) who likes to be uber-prepared, fill out this vote checklist before you leave the house. It will make your time in the voting cubicle that much shorter.

If you'd like a more comprehensive outline of the ballot questions in Massachusetts, read Evan's post - Your MA State Ballot.

So now you have no excuses. You're educated on the issues on the ballot, you know how to register to vote, all you have to do now is set your alarm 15 minutes earlier so you can get down to your local polling location. Don't forget to bring some food donations, and I'll see you there!

Related Posts: Presidential Election and Free Speech; 2008 Vote: Whys and Hows of the Electoral College; Are you making your decision based on looks?; Passive Electioneering; Absentee Voting; Handgun Bans and Dogs
Photo courtesy of Oberazzi.

1 comment:

Magic said...

An Eye Opener
Back in June of 2008 we were presented an opportunity to make a visit to one of the two remaining greyhound racing tracks Massachusetts. We had adopted Magic four years ago thinking we had "saved" or "rescued" him from a miserable existence. I was ready to get a first hand look at how our "poor puppy" had been treated.

We were met by the volunteer coordinator and given an overview of our day and then brought to the weigh in area where all the dogs are brought before racing. Here I learned that the dogs are weighed in and checked by both the track veterinarian as well as the state racing commission vet. After they are weighed and examined, they are placed in kennel crates-- one dog per crate with the measurements which were set by the MSPCA and Grey2K USA-- to await their chance to race. I was shocked at the level of security and the regulations that help to insure the safety of the dogs.

We were then taken to the post race area where the dogs are brought to cool down. They are walked by their handlers after the race so that they can relax their muscles, get some fresh cold water, a bath to clean any dust off their coat, paws. They even get their eyes washed out as well. There is another area sectioned off and controlled by the state racing commission. This is where they bring dogs selected at random for urine testing.

We were told about the training and schooling that the dogs go through, the selective breeding process which is also very tightly regulated to prevent inbreeding and over breeding. We were given an opportunity to ask questions and express our concerns and receive honest and straight forward answers.

We took a break for lunch and had the opportunity to watch a couple of the races. This was a first for us. We had seen our own retired racer sprint and run with some of his greyhound friends. Nothing compares to the beauty of these dogs at full speed. It is truly amazing and even more so that they really seem to enjoy doing it. As we watched the dogs walk to the starting gate I could see that they were excited. It was a beautiful sight-- seeing these dogs do that which they were created to do.

After lunch we paid a visit to one of the kennels. Now I was ready to see the horrible conditions we have been told about. The turn out area was clean and free of any piles of waste. There was an odor of dogs, we were, after all in a a kennel, but it was not a foul smell. The trainer allowed us to let several of the dogs out of their crates a couple at a time. All of them were very happy and playful. Not one seemed skittish or scared at all! If a dog is abused, you can usually tell by the way it acts around its owner, and also around strangers. Happy, friendly and playful. Every last one of them.

The trainer told us about his days, often twelve to fourteen hours long. You can see his love for the dogs and their love for him in their interactions. The kennel and the crates are cleaned every day. (I wish our house was cleaned that often!) They are subject to unannounced inspections by the State Police and MSPCA.

I came away with a different opinion that day.

If Ballot Question 3 passes, Massachusetts will lose over a thousand more jobs, an average of 4 million dollars per year in taxes and fees, the businesses surrounding the tracks will also also experience negative effects. The Greyhound breed as we know it, will eventually cease to exist, and it is this that saddens me most of all. Greyhounds are unlike any other dog I have ever had.

Please, vote NO on question 3.