Reader’s Forum – Jeanette Schultz on The Independent Voter

Me and My Shadow Ballot

By Jeanette Schultz

Immediately after the mid-term general elections ended, the discussions on the news programs were about how both Republicans and Democrats will work to win more seats in two years in the meantime; not what the election winners will do for us meanwhile! For the parties it’s always in two or four years, not now or even soon. Our nation cannot keep on waiting for undelivered results from these factious parties.

Inspired by Chapter 3 in The Independent Voter, I wanted to see how I performed on my own Ohio ballot in November. Am I a shadow partisan or truly an Independent? What follows is my ballot’s diagnosis.

There were 24 possible votes to cast on my ballot: 12 at the National/State level; 9 County/Local; 2 State issues; and 1 Tax levy. My results by party this year were skewed by my voting against something again—this year it was against Republicans on the Ohio Redistricting Commission, which was supposed to eliminate gerrymandering only to fail miserably when the majority Republican members voted down all attempts for fair maps. Even being held in contempt by the Ohio Supreme Court did not move them to action. A red majority isn’t good enough for Ohio Republicans—it has to be a supermajority.

For the 12 National/State votes: 6 D’s; 5 R’s (1 was unopposed); 1 unaffiliated. There’d have been one more Democrat chosen, but the Democrat did not submit answers to journalists or The League of Women Voters, nor did their website give me enough information to confidently vote for that newcomer. Note to Candidates: Votes do not go by attractive websites alone.

For the 9 County/Local votes: 1 D; 4 R’s (3 were unopposed); and 4 unaffiliated Judges.

Overall, I voted for 7 Democrats and 5 Republicans when both were in the same race. Even when I voted against certain Republicans, it was still a pretty even split. Will someone declare this a shadow ballot? Maybe if I cast a bright light on it….

I also voted against 8 incumbents which goes by my “Rule for Incumbents”: If in doubt, throw them out! If you want to have some fun on a partisan Zoom, put that in the chat box… Don’t worry, I have more chat provocations to deploy when the partisans unload. I even convinced a new voter to bypass parties entirely by sending him the link privately after he asked if he had to register for a party in Ohio.

If you check out what I said on page 92 of the book, notice that again I was “voting against something” this year. It’d be so much sweeter to vote for something, but it was my chance to retaliate against Ohio gerrymanderers.

One October day I told another senior guy that I delivered voters guides for the Dayton League of Women Voters. He asked me how I felt about getting people who disagree with me to vote, which would be counter to my vote. I replied that I’m fully aware that not everyone thinks like me or votes like me, but that’s how democracy works, and I’m good with that. The guides provide nonpartisan voter education, and that’s what we all need.

Remember: Whether you vote for or against something, please vote, especially as an Independent.

As a retired IT professional in Dayton, Ohio, Jeanette Schultz now uses her laptop to Zoom in on her interests, such as getting more people to vote and having their votes matter. She can also be found hiking in the woods most often independently—of course!

Join Cathy Stewart for a Virtual Conversation with

Thom Reilly, Jackie Salit and Omar Ali

The Authors of The Independent Voter

December 7th at 3 pm ET.


Founder of the Politics for the People free educational series and book club for independent voters. Chair of the New York County Independence Party.

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