Today is election day in the USA. 146 Million Americans decide who to send to Congress, a third of the Senate and some State Governors. Choices to be made on all levels.
The Governor of New York will be elected today. Current Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) is in office since 2011. He faces five candidates. The polls give him about 20 points ahead of the closest competitor, Rob Astorino (R). For me, our governor was working in the shadow till Sandy hit New York in 2012. The governor of New York, along with the governor of New Jersey (Chris Christie) and our former mayor (Michael Bloomberg) were the faces of the response after the hurricane hit the shores of the two states.
No senators are up for re-election in the state of New York. We have, of course, our representatives in Congress to elect. But as everyone expects the incumbents to be re-elected, we almost had no campaign going on here. And that’s a typical phenomena in the USA: money is only spent in the locations where a seat can be won (or lost) against the other party. In places where the polls show a clear winner, the campaign dies quickly. With $4 Billion (yep) spent in this campaign, the party headquarters are strategically choosing where that money can buy them seats, and where not.
Electing representatives is one part of todays mission. In many states, the voting ballot carries other choices to be made as well. For example, in the states of Florida, Alaska, Oregon and in the District of Columbia (DC), voters can decide on the legalization of marihuana. This legalization happened in the 2012 elections in Colorado and Washington.
In New York State, voters will have to decide whether proposed laws can be sent electronically to the representatives. They also can decide to spend $2 billion in improving our education system.
On top of all that, positions in the city and in the borough of Manhattan (two judges actually) are up for election. All in all, people in my neighborhood go in the election booth with 11 different choices to make today…
Voting is a privilege reserved for US Citizens, so I can only encourage my American friends to go out today and be an active part of this democracy: Vote, please!