Admit it. You’ve done it.

You’ve stepped into a voting booth on election day, determined not to vote a straight ticket for one party or another. And as you make your way past the big races, the presi-whats and sena-whos, you come to a terrifying and confusing place, a place inhabited by clerks of court, coroners, and public works commissioners. You don’t know what these offices do, and you don’t know who these candidates are or where they stand.

It is then that you realize that democracy is a crapshoot. It’s a cruel game for the candidates who invest their time and money in running for office and you, the men and women who have to decide their fates.

So what do you do? Some might skip voting in these races. Some might go back to chad one and vote a straight ticket. Or you could just wing it, selecting candidates for the most frivolous of reasons.

Hmm. Let’s see. It’s Riley Rutledge Pinckney Manigault versus Heywood Jablome in the race for clerk of who gives a damn. That’s easy. Puns are fun. Mr. Jablome it is.

Well, I think it’s high time that we apply the same lack of care to the quote-unquote more important races out there. Which is why, right here and now, I feel perfectly comfortable letting everyone know exactly how I’ll vote on Nov. 4.

And what better place to start than with the big ticket, the presidency?

It’s really quite simple. I cannot vote for a man that calls the citizens of Vietnam, gooks. Which is what Sen. John McCain did during a sit-down interview with Chris Matthews back in 2000. Yes, I realize that McCain was held in the Hanoi Hilton and tortured. I understand his anger. But “gooks”? That’s just one step away from ranting about letting “the Nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches,” as Strom Thurmond once did. Presidential candidates should spew sound bites, not racial slurs.

Now, if there was a way to vote for vice president apart from the president, I would gladly vote for Gov. Sarah Palin simply for the fact that Tina Fey is hilarious and I don’t want the laughter to stop. This clown doesn’t like to cry.

As for Libertarian candidate Bob Barr, well, he’s got alliteration on his side. And seeing as how I was raised on comic books where the best heroes have names like Peter Parker and Bruce Banner, that’s a good thing. That said, grown men should only wear spandex costumes in the funny pages. I don’t want to see Barr’s Georgia peaches. Oh. And he wears glasses. Poindexter.

What about Ralph Nader, you ask? I’ve gone down that road before, and, quite frankly, I don’t mind doing it again. It was a wild ride that led to some unforeseen consequences. But here’s the thing: George Lucas pisses me off. Midi-chlorians? Jar Jar Binks? Greedo shoots first? Nader just sounds too much like Vader to me, so I won’t be turning to the Dark Side this go round.

That leaves us with Sen. Barack Obama. Let’s look at the arguments in his favor.

Actress Scarlett Johansson, musician, and street artist Shepard Fairey are among his supporters. Meh.

His favorite song by the Rolling Stones is “Gimme Shelter.” I agree. But I’m a Beatles man.

He’s an African American. So what? Bill Clinton already took care of that. Give me a Canadian and I’ll be impressed.

When it comes down to it, there’s one reason and one reason alone that I’m going to vote for Barack Obama — he’s a smoker.

Yeah, I know he’s been chawing down on Nicorette, but still, once you’re a smoker, you’re always a smoker. I know this because I used to be one.

And right now, with the economy taking a deep-sea trip to Davy Jones’ locker and the future of our country up in the air, there’s nothing more that I’d like to do than light one up. No one knows our sorrows more than our fellow smokers. We’ve got to stick together.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em.