The midterm election is only a couple of months away, and there are some things you may want to consider before you cast your vote.

In the search to get votes many people who are otherwise honest, hard-working folks somehow are changed into politicians who promise everything to get elected – then change their tune once seated.

The higher up the electoral food chain that the candidate seeking office is looking to climb, the more money is spent to get your vote. For example, if it’s a local community service district, school district or city council race, the amounts are considerably less than for regional, statewide or national races. 
 
Be wary of any local campaign that seems to be spending more money on advertising than you have witnessed from other candidates in previous years.
 
A perfect example is the statewide campaigns for two propositions that will appear on the ballot this November; for the last few weeks local print and electronic media have been bombarded with advertising for and against. That means the folks funding these campaigns probably have a lot to gain (cash wise) if their position prevails.

When this much money is being spent this early, I get suspicious.
 
When you get your voters pamphlet, read the text, not just the title of all the measures, carefully before you vote. The titles can be misleading, so look in the fine print for clues concerning why you should or shouldn’t support the measure.

Be sure to find out who or which organized groups are supporting or opposing the propositions; this will give you a clue as to just who will stand to gain if the proposition passes.

For example, if a union group supports it, then you can safely assume small businesses, local small contracting firms, and people who work for themselves won’t gain anything and most likely will be adversely impacted.

Then there are the individual candidates for each office; you can be sure incumbents will try to convince you that their time in office has given them the experience necessary to make sound decisions. Do some research and find out for yourself whether their claims of supporting the things that matter to you and/or made your life better are true.

For example, if a candidate seeking office was previously elected, then rejected by voters, there is probably a reason. Either he/she didn’t deliver what they promised, or they deceived the public and got caught.

Their challengers will try to convince you the incumbent is unfit for the job. Pay close attention to their arguments – sometimes they have valid points and other times they may be tossing barn dust around just to foul the air with irrelevant chatter.

In local elections many candidates are local business people; visit their place of business and you’ll get an idea of how organized they are, and this may give you a clue as to their suitability for office.

The First Amendment to the Constitution protects free speech; this means candidates and their political action committees can express things as fact that may not be true. We have seen this many times in previous campaigns, but we usually don’t find out the truth until well after the votes have been counted.

Next, in local elections, read the ballot statements included in the election guide; these are limited to less than 300 words, so they will be a better source of information than anything you see in print advertising, hear in the media, get in the mail, or is hung on your screen door.

Lastly, the worst place to get reliable information is on one of the many blogs that will pop up discussing ballot issues and candidates. These are often sources of wild rumors, false information, and somewhat slanderous commentaries.

After you have carefully researched the ballot pamphlet sent by your local election authorities, be sure to cast your vote. Why? Because your vote really does count. Besides, it’s your country and you shouldn’t complain about the result unless you vote.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry. He has been following Lompoc politics since 1992, and after serving for 23 years appointed to various Lompoc commissions, retired from public service. The opinions expressed are his own.