Still, in case anyone wants a quick look at how I'm deciding between the various candidates that will be on my ballot (specifically: Calvert County, Maryland), well, here you go. I'm drawing most of my information about the candidate's positions from the Baltimore Sun's guide and from the information available at www.vote411.org.
I probably don't need to belabor this one too much. I don't really like Clinton's character. I think she's demonstrated that she's not very transparent, is willing to say whatever she needs to, and is very good at coloring the truth without ever telling an actual lie. The email server, and the way her reaction to that has evolved, is merely the most recent instance of this.
Basically, she's a politician, and while I understand the pressures they face and the requirements of their job, I wish it was easier for that sort of person to be honest.
But she's very intelligent, is willing to publicly commit to positions I agree with on almost any issue, I want her to select the next Supreme Court justices, and my complaints about Clinton's character are minor compared to my complaints about Trump's.
As I go through their answers to the Sun's questions, I was surprised by some of Szeliga's (the Republican). There were several points for which they were similar to Van Hollen's, mostly on minimum wage and financial regulation. Of course, she also supports increasing charter schools and vouchers, which I oppose. And her answer on Iran and foreign policy was not good - I don't understand why people are willing to uncritically accept what amounts to enemy propaganda when deciding what effect the nuclear deal has had.
I did also look at Flowers (Green). While she has some ideas I don't mind, many of them are too ambitious to be workable, and her anti-nuclear positions aren't good.
US House - MD District 5
In this case, there was a very clear winner - the difference in details provided versus empty rhetoric was incredibly obvious when comparing Hoyer and Arness. Or maybe that's just because I think the latter's pro-life, IRS revocation, and incredibly hard-line anti-Russia and anti-ISIS positions are poorly thought out, at best.
In this race the third party candidate is Summers (Libertarian). Who wants a complete withdrawal from all overseas bases, believes the free market can handle environmental costs, and doesn't even support any national effort for redistricting reform - all positions I disagree with.
To be honest... I don't know enough about any of these people to want them out of their seats.
Calvert County Board of Education
I can add another source to my list for this one - MSEA's recommendations.
The problem is that they're not very detailed regarding why a particular candidate was recommended, which makes it difficult for me to decide whether I'm willing to trust their word or not.
For District 1, I think Balinski's greater detail about what improvements need to be made and her experience makes her a better choice than Jones. For District 2, Highsmith and McGuire seem to be just about even in my opinion of the policies they promote; some issues present minor differences, but overall I like parts of both their stances. MSEA's recommendation for Highsmith ends up carrying the day there. And for District 3, the problem is that I have lots of information about Knowles' positions and none about McConkey's, but McConkey has MSEA's recommendation. In the end, I think I'm going to go with MSEA.
MD Constitutional Amendment
When I first saw the "require the Governor to replace the Attorney General or Comptroller only from the same party", I was wondering why the hell we needed a restriction like that.
However, given that the voters select those two positions, it seems reasonable to find some way to honor the voters' choice of party, at least. Maybe not required, given that the voters also selected (and hopefully trust) the judgment of the governor, as well, but not an unreasonable restriction.
And I do like the special election provision in the amendment.
... As I said, that shouldn't have come as any surprise. It is an interestingly annoying exercise, particularly since I'm sure I could (and probably should) care more and do more research on the down-ballot races, but either way, here's where I stand.