Monday, September 11, 2006

Voting for Garchik

The election for Iowa City Community School District board members is tomorrow, Tuesday, September 12.

Some of those who've indicated a desire to vote for Sam Garchik, thinking him probably the greatest chance to infuse creative and constructive new thinking into the present school board, have asked how to go about it.

Here are some suggestions.

1. If you feel like you need to learn more about him, look at his Iowa City Press-Citizen election op ed column, "Garchik Steps Up as Write-In Candidate," September 8, 2006. You might also want to look over his campaign literature contained within Nicholas Johnson, "Sam Garchik: 'What's He Stand For?" August 30, 2006.

2. Make sure you know where to vote. If you have questions as to where that might be, check out the Johnson County Auditor's "September 12, 2006 School Election" Web page at

NOTE THAT "SCHOOL POLLING PLACES" ARE OFTEN DIFFERENT FROM YOUR REGULAR POLLING PLACE. (But you can quickly and easily determine from the Web page where your "school polling place" is.)

3. (a) Write Sam's name on a piece of paper and take it with you into the voting booth. He is a "write-in" candidate. What that means is that his name will not be on the ballot. You will, quite literally, need to write his name on the ballot in the space provided. And while very minor misspellings may not invalidate your vote, clearly the more accurate you can be the better.

(b) Please note that YOUR VOTE WILL NOT COUNT UNLESS you not only write "Sam Garchik" on the write-in line provided, but ALSO fill in the bubble in front of his name. (Writing his name only indicates he's your candidate; filling in the bubble indicates you're voting for him.)

I can't tell you how or why to vote, but I can suggest a way to think about the strategy for increasing the effectiveness of your vote if you are interested in giving Sam a real opportunity to win in this uphill write-in campaign.

4. The two candidates (a) whose names are the only ones on the ballot, (b) have widespread name identification among the voters, and (c) have the support of a major voting block, and otherwise go into this election with an overwhelming advantage. Given the number of letters to the editor supporting both of them, it would appear that block is supporting both. Nonetheless, some voters will, undoubtedly, split their vote (giving one vote to Sam), or vote for only one of the two on the ballot.

Given these disadvantages, there is little probability that Garchik can finish in first place. He has to aim to finish second.

Thus, if you vote for Sam -- and one of the other two candidates, whose names are on the ballot -- you are only increasing the likelihood that he will come in third rather than second, and -- since there are only two board positions to fill -- effectively lose the election.

So if you want to make your vote count for Sam Garchik -- rather than just show your support by voting for him as one of your two choices -- you will want to consider only voting for Sam Garchik and not casting your second vote for anyone.

5. Only you can decide whether, and for whom, you want to vote, and how you want to go about that strategically. But if you'd like to see Sam Garchik elected, you might want to keep these considerations in mind.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Nick; As we recall, all politics is local and the future of our schools and the education of youth is one of the most important investments we ever make in our democracy. An investment we make at the most local level. Also it's good to remember not only to vote but also how to make the most of each vote. Peace Dianne D-R