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Newsletter - October 2022

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It is a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in a role or persona and simply have a good time. Given how close we are to the mid-term elections I find some irony given the roles and personas being portrayed by many of the candidates for office!

In contrast to the enjoyment I get out of Halloween, I continue to be disgusted by the barrage of political ads and commercials we get this time of year. They are frequently misleading, stoke anger and hatred, and provide little value for those truly trying to understand ideology, qualifications, or priorities of candidates and political parties.

Elected officials do extremely important work, and they're supposed to be working for us. Would you make a major purchase or hire someone to work on your home based on a commercial or other advertisement? In addition to the money being spent on campaigns, a significant amount of time is spent raising money for the campaigns. All of this time and money provides limited benefit to all of us.

Ad spending made up more than half of campaign expenditures in the 2020 election cycle (nearly $8.5 billion). Here's a link to an Open Secrets web page with additional details, including reported spending, to date, for the 2022 mid-term elections, and expenditures from previous election cycles.

The value of debates is diminishing because candidates either evade or don't truthfully answer questions, and many are avoiding debates altogether. Editorial board reviews and subsequent endorsements are an excellent resource, but many local newspapers no longer have the resources to continue this practice. Here's a link to a "letter from the editor" of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that provides more insight into the endorsement process. Of particular interest is that this process provides an effective and impartial way of finding out candidates' positions on key issues.

What if the information to evaluate candidates and political parties were available in a simple, easy to use format? Would this reduce the value of political advertisements and reduce the need for candidates to raise money? Is this a viable way to reduce money in politics and significantly reduce conflicts of interest?

Given the limited time most of us have to research and truly understand the policies and priorities of candidates and political parties, a simple "at a glance" format as illustrated in this spreadsheet should be considered. I would love your feedback on this concept.

As mentioned in last month's newsletter, I watched the US and the Holocaust over the Jewish High Holidays. I continue to be alarmed by the many parallels between the Nazi takeover of Germany and the current political climate. When outsiders and opposing views are demonized and when truth is challenged, it weakens our country and our democracy.

In landslide elections 40% of voters have opposing views. For our democracy and society to truly function as I believe most of us would like it to, we need to take the time to understand and respect views that differ from our own. As I continue on this journey, I become increasingly less concerned about political ideology and increasingly focused on upholding and promoting the eight principles that guide my work.

In next month's newsletter I will provide updates on work done by Voice of the People to promote partnership with the public and work by the Center for Electoral Quality and Integrity to promote free and fair elections.

If you haven't already done so, please be sure to vote!

Have a great month.



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