Hi. Vote. It’s not about you, okay? It’s about everyone else.
Also, below is my opinionated ballot guide, which becomes less and less useful as you go down the list until it’s pointless for people who live more than 10 miles from my house. Also, I am a combination of lefty and ornery (two of the less popular Dwarves), so if you’re not either of those you’ll probably not want to vote this way.
More of my friends than ever before are refusing to vote, or voting for symbolic third-party candidates for national and state offices. This is slightly worse than a mistake.
There are several arguments against voting for the President and other Democratic candidates.
The first is that there is no difference between Obama and Romney, because they are both business-friendly conservatives who perpetuate wars and oppression. It’s true that if you have any principles at all, the election is painful, and that if you’re on the left it’s even more painful. It’s also true that Obama started as a middle-of-the-road Eisenhower conservative and then proceeded to betray his followers by continuing Bush-era abuses of power, failing to honor promises, committing a variety of mortal sins against civil rights, and killing people without due process.
However, there are some important differences. For example, if you’re a woman, or have women as family or friends, or think women are generally human beings, it’s important to vote for Obama. The current version of the Republican party is set on destroying women’s rights in every way: reproductive rights, domestic violence, equality of pay, the whole deal. Without the Executive Branch’s opposition we’d have The Handmaid’s Tale, no joke.
The second is the Supreme Court. This is always dicey because Justices don’t always do what you’d expect once they’re hired, but Romney replacing one or more judges, with a Tea Party Congress vetting them, would be a nightmare that lasts a lifetime. Ouch.
Third is worker’s rights. The Republicans are focused on union-busting and grinding on working people the most they have been since about 1903. If you are an employee, or have friends or family who are employees, or like some employees, please vote for the President.
Finally, I dislike the apparent motives for the boycott and the useless third party vote. Nobody honestly believes that their absence or protest vote will change a thing. The important thing about the vote protest is telling others about it as a way of defining yourself. The political opinion itself is respectable. However, nobody else really cares. Voting has real world effects, and whatever its symbolic value might be it is a practical matter first. Your decision to vote can help or hurt many other people. Don’t be Byronic and special and yell out your iconoclastic views. Please just vote.
That all having been said, I don’t like the choice. Coming up to the next election it’s going to be important for more of us to get involved with the party earlier on and push for candidates who wouldn’t have been Republicans in 1975.
And now the Guide!
For President/Vice President: Barack Obama and Joe Biden
Senator: Dianne Feinstein. 
Proposition 30: Yes. We’re out of money.
Proposition 31: No. It’s so confusing that we have no way of knowing what it would do.
Proposition 32: No. It’s solely an attack on unions without any general benefit to the State.
Proposition 33: Another confusing mess from the insurance industry. Nope.
Proposition 34: Yes. The death penalty is murder and must be abolished.
Proposition 35: No. It’s grandstanding. Human trafficking is already very illegal. This adds inflexible weirdness and enlarges the sex offender category.
Proposition 36: Yes. It fixes the three strikes law so it’s more likely to jail scary criminals rather than just feed the prison industry.
Proposition 37: Yes. It’s not perfect and could cause some problems, but we need to know what’s in our food.
Proposition 39: Yes. Kills a loophole that let companies avoid paying their tax in the State.
Proposition 40: Yes. All it does is keep the redistricting as it has been, and the opposition to it has even bailed out.
Representative: Ron Varasteh 
State Senator: Steve Young 
State Assembly: Robert Rush 
Newport Beach City Council: Write in something. You have no choices at all, literally.
Costa Mesa Sanitary District: Jeff Mathews 
Orange County Water District: No recommendation
Measure M: Yes. I don’t care for bond issues (credit card spending) but the community colleges are really screwed and need this urgently.
Newport Beach Measure EE: No. It’s a load of stuff the city doesn’t want or need, with a prohibition on red light cameras stuck on it to make people like it.
 God, she’s awful. The alternative is worse, and the Senate is very close. Reproductive rights again win.
 He’s running against the legendary madman Dana Rohrabacher, who has great entertainment value but is a terrible legislator and a nut who should be passing out pamphlets at the County Fair.
 Steve Young is a genuinely good guy. He runs every time with the same cheerful quixotic attitude. Give him a boost.
 Rush’s opponent is Allan Mansour. Just look the guy up. Full-bore white supremacist. Terrifying.
 I went to high school with this guy. The trash guys have not been put up to bid for 20 years and he wants to do that. Makes sense.