Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I voted today

Well actually it was yesterday but who's counting? Apart, that is, from a thousand harried election officials being hounded by anxious almost made its?

Australia is the only other country where I've voted and attendance there at a polling booth on the day is mandatory on pain of a 50 buck fine. That being the case there's nothing all that remarkable about having actually voted in Australia; one assumes that everyone has.

Not so here in the US. With a voter turnout of only 40% it's a toss up whether someone has bothered or not. So, at least here in Arizona (I can't speak for anywhere else in the country) they hand you a little sticker saying 'I voted today'. It nonplussed me for a moment but then I stuck it on my forehead and wore it all day at the office.

Laughs all round! Well, what did they expect when I became a citizen? That I'd not bother voting?

An interesting exercise. A combination of the familiar with an interleaving of the utterly strange! No surprise seeing candidates for House and Senate. Not even much of a surprise seeing candidates for Governor (a rather different office here than in Australia). But further down candidates for School Board? Approval for the continuation of judgeships? What a disappointment there was no candidate for The Office of Dog Catcher!

Ok, I'm being a little facetious. I'm just not used to the voting process being quite so granular. I'm sure familiarity will breed complacence.

Fortunately the ballots here are real paper and you mark your choice using a pen. No risk of illegitimate chads a few months hence. No touch screen computers either. I still have my suspicions about the machine one feeds ones ballot into which apparently counts it on the spot. Call me old fashioned but I really don't like the idea of computerising something as important as voting. I'd be a whole lot happier if they were counted by hand with a bunch of rival scrutineers agreeing that this ballot really was for so and so.

But I reserve the real shocker for last. It came as quite the surprise a couple of weeks ago when my wife received her sample ballot to see that it had a map printed on the front pointing the way to the polling place. 'Yes, that's right', she said, when I asked, 'you can only vote there.' I was incredulous. 'You mean that I can only vote there and nowhere else? That's the only place on the whole planet where I can vote?' Apparently it's so.

Hmmm. Much to get used to! I'm sure I'll cope.

1 comment:

maaaaaaaattttttttttteeeeeee said...

huh . . . I was counting . . .