Election Day: Tuesday, November 6th
Early Voting: October 17 – November 3

Resources and Information:

Pam’s Picks website navigation has changed this year. For complete information on how to register and vote on the same day; early voting locations and hours; where and when to vote on Election Day; a list of Election Day Precinct locations; and a full discussion of candidates and constitutional amendments on the November 6th ballot, use the navigation bar at the top of your page. All candidate discussions are presented in ballot order.

Scroll down to see my marked sample ballot endorsements and for “My Take on This Year’s Election.”

THE DISCLAIMER: What is Pam’s Picks?

“Pam’s Picks” is simply one person’s opinion about the 2018 General Election Ballot. I am a progressive Watauga County resident and have long held interest in local politics and issues. I am an activist for voting rights and environmental and community issues and generally endorse the candidate who most reflects and espouses my progressive bent. Pam’s Picks endorsements may or may not reflect endorsements of a political party, but Pam’s Picks is independent of any political party.

What’s in Pam’s Picks?

General voting information (when, where, and how) and information on all candidates whose names will appear on your November 6th General Election ballot. The “Candidate Discussion” is presented in the order candidates will appear on your ballot. I have researched candidate campaign platforms and records where available. Information for my candidate discussions comes from individual candidate information, candidate voting records, press reports, and/or other sources. I have also supplied candidate web site references and/or Facebook links where available. I provide Party affiliation for all candidates, regardless of whether the race is partisan or non-partisan. I believe informed voters know the party affiliation of all candidates. For additional information, you can follow the provided links or contact candidates directly with your questions.

This is how I will cast my ballot:

Click here for a printable “Pam’s Picks” marked sample ballot for the November 6th General elections (PDF file). Note that this year’s ballot is two pages, front and back. You can print out the marked sample ballot and take it with you into your polling place.  You are NOT allowed to use your cell phone or any other electronic device once inside the voting enclosure.

My Take On This Year’s Election

Years ago, I met a man named Carl Clark. Jerry and I had traveled to Bryson City, NC, in search of finding someone who could help us step into the world of “data,” which seemed like a very promising way to reach voters. We heard Carl would be at a meeting there.

At the time, Carl Clark was the “go to” for smart ways to use data. He firmly believed data research and collection was a promising tool for campaigns, and he was very enterprising at finding ways to make data work in and for campaigns. Data collection and use was very much in its Stone Age, and still often resulted in endless reams of paper lists and simple sorts of information in Excel.

But Carl Clark believed in the future, and so do I.

Carl lost his battle with cancer in 2008. I miss his crusty old self very much. And I find myself thinking of him often recently because he was the first to warn me, over and over again, that the Republican Party was morphing into a co-opted organization of one percenters and ideologically extreme opposition. He once even escorted me to his evidence of this tucked away deep into his closet—reams of papers about newly-organized conservative “Think Tanks” designed to promote a Pathological Lie funded by domestic and foreign lobbyists under a fake banner of “independent research” and policy wonks.

He insisted that the long-range and calculated effort by the Richie Riches of the world would upend politics as we knew it. He sent me google searching for details on what an “Oligarchy” was and referred me to his favorite movie, “The Matrix,” wherein those who desired knowledge, freedom, and reality took a blue pill. Those who desired security, happiness and blissful ignorance chose the red pill. (Yes, Matrix fans. I have switched the colors of the pills for purposes of this discussion. Forgive me this once.)

And he warned me that this “Co-opted Republican Party” was already picking off those who were suspect of challenging them — that the supposed moral centers of our universe (the churches) were in fact the first to be convinced that up was down and opt for the red pill instead of the blue. He warned that those who refused the red pill would have to be marginalized, and if their numbers were too great, the Pathological Lie would be forced to suppress them by whatever means necessary, even if it meant slowly but surely undermining all checks and balances of our government and, equally slowly, taking away the rights of the blue-pill-takers to vote or fight back. Only then could the Pathological Lie become the pathological truth. And the Lie was patient.

I thought he was wearing a tin foil hat.

But now I find that the Pathological Lie has taken America’s White House with a man who lost his election by almost 3,000,000 votes. Whose only platform is to enrich billionaires, including himself. Who freely hands over our natural resources and our national parks to Richie Rich, no questions asked. Who colludes with our sworn enemies and the Alt-Right. Who insists truth is “fake” to the angry cheers of red-pill-takers. And who whips up them against us to keep us all chasing squirrels instead of slowing down long enough to see the people behind him mouthing the Lie.

The Pathological Lie has taken America’s Congress by eliminating any procedural safeguards in its way — then gerrymandered voting districts so that even when voters overwhelmingly elect the candidate of their choice, the Lie wins anyway. So that Richie Rich can confiscate working people’s money to line his own pockets. So that while we pay for the Lie’s health care and pensions, ours are considered “entitlements” and therefore subject to the chopping block. And so that those of us trying to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps out of the morass end up hanging ourselves in the process.

The Pathological Lie has now taken America’s Courts and installed those who will unquestionably do its dirty work. Courts that have ruled corporations are actually “people” and can therefore make undisclosed political expenditures under the First Amendment. Courts that have stopped ballot recounts in close elections and installed the candidate of the Lie’s choice. Courts that have struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, freeing up the Lie to change state election laws to suppress the voting rights of those inclined to vote against it. Since women especially have been fiercely unwilling to succumb to their supposed inevitable management, the Lie has installed our abusers onto its Courts.

The Pathological Lie has entrenched itself into our own North Carolina state government too. The Legislature cannot meet in public without exposing the Lie to the light, so it conducts its public trust abuse iron-fisted behind closed doors and in the dark of night. It holds no regular committee meetings, no public discussion and no chance at all for anyone to follow its legislative process or provide informed input. It cowers to NRA demands to increase security in our schools by adding armed officers while at the same time cutting investments in mental health support. It guts funding of our public schools and teachers to pay for Richie Rich’s private school and teachers. It continually feeds more dollars to the bloated richest among us and makes us pick up the tab by paying more for car repairs and repairing the worn soles of our shoes. It cooks the books on redistricting. It allows Duke Energy to dump toxic coal ash into our rivers and streams in return for campaign contributions. It is draconian and punitive to the point of even demanding we adhere to their preferences on which bathroom we can use. And if a person inside its own boundaries should threaten to expose it, the Legislature changes the rules to choke them off.

The State Legislature’s quest for power is insatiable.

This year, the NC state legislature, unable to fully implement its destructive agenda, has proposed six Amendments to our State Constitution in order to push the Lie’s agenda down our throats and install its destruction for all perpetuity.

All of these Constitutional Amendments were written by the GOP legislature without any public input and behind closed doors. The language they wrote to describe each amendment is intentionally deceiving in order to fool us and hide their true motives and agenda.

The amendments are a power grab. If passed, they will fundamentally undermine the balance of power between our branches of government. One will hand over unprecedented control of our elections and voting rights to the state legislature. Another will take away our right to elect judges of our choice and hand over to the state legislature the constitutional right to handpick their partisan hack judges instead. Another will enshrine into our constitution that Richie Rich will never have to pay his fair share for our schools and roads and other social needs. Another is a tip of the hat to the NRA and opens the door to “harvesting wildlife” by unspecified means to be decided by the legislature after we have voted for it. Another guarantees victims additional rights, but only if they can pay for them. And, last but not least, another spikes our Constitution with the requirement that those of us wishing to stop the Legislature’s assault on our persons will be required to produce an approved picture ID of the legislature’s choosing when we go to cast our vote. And, no, ASU Student IDs will not count.

Read my detailed discussion on the proposed Amendments to our Constitution HERE.

Now I know Carl Clark was right all along, and it’s high time for all of us to join together to rage against the dying of the light.

I still believe in the future, and I believe that future will be brighter because even a single person refused to go down. We are bigger than the Lie, and there are more of us. We can do this if we band together and fight back, hard, just like our ancestors have already shown us. The Lie doesn’t win until we give up, and we should never give up on ourselves.

“My greatest point is my persistence. I never give up in a match. However down I am, I fight until the last ball. My list of matches shows that I have turned a great many so-called irretrievable defeats into victories.”–Bjorn Borg

There are many excellent, exciting candidates running this year on your ballot from US House of Representatives to Soil and Water Supervisor. These candidates are our first and best defense against the Lie, and we need to cast our ballots for those brave and strong enough to stand up on behalf of all of us. Please take the time to read about all the candidates on your ballot this November, and then take another blue pill to the polls. It’s your right. And it’s your obligation.



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