The absentee ballots have been mailed, walk in voting starts on October 21 and emails and blog postings are already promoting strategies and suggestions on how to get your favorite Kauai County Council candidates elected.
I am compelled to explain the importance of block voting, plunking and in general resisting the urge to go “eeny, meeny, miney, moe” and expending on November 4 all seven Kauai County Council votes – some votes on candidates you really want to see in office and other votes on candidates that are “ok” or whom you are not really sure.
The fundamental rule of akamai Kauai voting is: Do not use all 7 votes when choosing your Kauai County Council candidates. Unless of course you feel equally supportive of all 7 candidates you choose or perhaps have your own strategy you believe in.
The ballot will say “vote for up to 7” or similar language. Experienced Kauai voters will use their Council votes sparingly, selecting only those candidates whom they really and truly and positively want to get elected. These voters might cast one vote or perhaps up to 4 or 5 votes but rarely do they go beyond this number.
An example of how casting all 7 votes can work to the detriment of the candidate or candidates you are most interested in getting elected:
There are 14 candidates running for the 7 Council seats. The council candidates’ mother goes to vote.
She votes for her child (naturally) and then pauses and decides to vote for one other candidate who has been especially nice to good ol’ mom during the campaign. Mom’s favorite candidate (her child) then loses the election by one vote to that other candidate and very nice person mom decided to vote for also.
Bottom line is that in most Kauai Council elections – mom’s, grandma’s, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers and children of the candidate will often only cast one vote in the Kauai County Council race.
This is called “plunking”. Others have their definition for plunking but this is how I have come to know the term.
While I appreciate those who choose to plunk for Hooser and especially appreciate good ole mom for not casting the one vote that could beat me, in general and in particular for this election I am encouraging my friends to block vote rather than plunk.
After all in order to accomplish anything on the Council 4 votes are needed, and preferably there are at least 5. And plunk or not, it can get mighty lonely on the Council if you make it and none of your friends do.
Block voting is an expanded variation of the one vote all powerful plunk. Block voting is usually a 3 or 5 vote maximum but the same principal applies. The voter selects only those candidates whom they truly want to get elected, whom they believe truly represent their core values – and they vote for those candidates only and resist giving their remaining votes to candidates whom might as a result beat their favorites.
This year there has been much talk about “slates”, or a group of candidates who run as a team.
Personally I have never been a fan of this strategy. I believe every candidate must run and win on their individual merits. Yes I have friends whom I hope will win, but each of us must run and win on our own.
A slate is different than supporting an “endorsed list” which is a strategy that many organizations and individuals ascribe to. If an organization or group of individuals want to endorse my candidacy I welcome the support, help and recognition.
The primary and crucial difference between a slate and an endorsed list is that in a “slate strategy” the council candidates themselves lock arms in their support of each other and in opposition to the non-slate candidates.
In the example of the “endorsed list” it is the organization/group that offers the support and the candidates do not necessarily support or even like each other.
An important caveat to slates is that it is against the law for any candidate to spend funds in support of another candidate. So candidate A may not spend his/her campaign funds or incur expenses in support of candidate B, C or D. In addition the expenses incurred in support of any joint events in support of the slate must be disclosed to the campaign spending commission.
This is where things will often get sticky for those candidates who run as a slate.
Each candidate must disclose their equal portion of the expenses of the event and there must be documentation to back up those expenses. Either the candidate must disclose their portion as an expense (paid from their campaign account) or as an “in-kind donation” from an individual (disclosed as a contribution on the campaign spending report). There truly is no free lunch.
This reporting must include the cost of the venue, refreshments and other related costs as nothing is free – it is either an expense paid proportionately by the candidate or a proportional contribution (in kind or otherwise). This can get complicated and become problematic when prying eyes start examining each of the slates campaign spending reports to determine if each candidate in the slate reported the correct amounts and proportion.
A fundamental rule of service in elective office: No matter how smart you are, no matter how hard you work, no matter how good you are in your heart – you cannot serve unless you get elected.
Please vote, please research all of the candidates and vote only for those you truly believe will represent your core values and yes, please cast one of your 7 county council votes for me, Gary Hooser.
Thank you, gh
Note: A version of this blog posting was published here in October 2012