There might be anywhere from a few to a dozen or more propositions on a statewide ballot.
Once, a few years ago, I got a bug up my ass to try being an informed voter and really making informed choices about these. Wow, I hadn’t realized how much work that would be!
How does one go about making informed decisions? The voters’ information booklet that we get a few weeks before the election? It has a one-paragraph blurb written by advocates, and a one-paragraph rebuttal to that, and a one-paragraph blurb written by opponents, and a one-paragraph rebuttal. All of it totally and obviously vacuous of any information content. It has an analysis by some non-partisan office of whoever analyzes those things, with estimates of taxpayer costs and such. It has the full text of propositions, typically half-a-dozen pages of incomprehensibly dense legalese.
Then, there are the newspaper editorials. All of them written to push one point of view.
INTERNET TO THE RESCUE! Well, sort of.
I went down the list, one proposition at a time. I googled up newspaper editorials from papers all over the state on each one and read a whole bunch. This got me some very detailed arguments on all sides of every issue. I read editorials from conservative papers in conservative areas, and editorials from liberal papers in liberal areas. I got a good idea of what the pros and cons were in each case.
The problem? It took me hours and hours and hours and hours to do all that study! And that just got me through a few of the propositions! Seriously, I came away with the realization that this is what it takes to be an informed high-information voter. I just couldn’t take the time, or devote the attention span to studying ALL the propositions this way.
Since then, I’ve taken a more selective approach. I skim the props, and pick a few that seem important for me to take seriously, and study those. For the rest, I just read the blurbs and from those, make essentially knee-jerk low-information choices. Shitty, but it takes such an investment to be a properly informed participant in democracy!