It’s primary election day, and I have no idea what’s going on

I’ll put the moral of this story up front: data is nice, but the problem is the media.

Today is the primary election in Pennsylvania, and I intend to go over to vote in a few minutes. But it occurred to me only this morning that more things may be on the ballot than the presidential nominees. To be a good citizen, I realized I had better read up on what else I will be voting on before strolling across the street to cast my ballot.

So what else is on the ballot? I figured the PA state website might have that information. Hah. I should only be so lucky. Googling I found CNN’s page only has presidential information; I found an AP article that mentions other candidates; and eventually some five pages of Google hits later I find that the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania seem to be the only group that has put this information online. Thanks to the LWV!

Fortunately some of the ballots are easy. The primary for the House and State Senate are uncontested in each party, and it looks like only one party even has a candidate for State House. (Lucky us.) I’m supposed to vote for state attorney general, auditor general, and treasurer. Each party has one candidate for the first two— another easy “choice.” (I presume these are all primaries and not actual elections for these offices, but the page doesn’t say.)

Then as I look down I find myself completely baffled. I’m supposed to elect pledged delegates to my party’s national convention?? Exactly what am I doing when I vote for either Clinton or Obama if I also have to choose delegates? (Ok, I just read an article in the Philly Inquirer explaining it.)

So I tell you, it’s just ridiculous that I don’t already know this information, and that there is no comprehensive explanation of what is going on on the ballot (although the LWV come close).

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