Saturday, August 25, 2007

Some Thoughts on Voting, Part I

August 21st was our primary, and, as always, I did my civic duty, went to the polling place, and voted. I love voting, particularly the satisfaction of reading through the voting pamphlet ahead of time, discussing any questions or dilemmas I have about propositions or candidates with friends, and going in and marking my vote on a scantron and inserting it into the submission machine. Yes, I'm the worst kind of keener and a complete geek. That said, there were a lot of interesting things about both the voting experience and the atmosphere around it.
  1. There are some dumb people working at the polling stations. I always thought I might want to volunteer at a polling station, but I'm now convinced that would be a bad idea. Some examples - one of the women working at the poll did not know what my voter registration card was (!) and was shocked to hear that there would be another election in November. When she asked one of the other poll workers how she knew that (the other worker and I were having a conversation about the upcoming election) that rational woman mentioned that she'd gone to training. The clueless woman said, "so did I! You must be so smart."
  2. The vote by mail requirement might be delayed. I really love going to the poll to vote. In fact, I think if people can't get off their butt (and they don't have a good reason like being out of town or disabled) and make the minimal effort required to vote, they shouldn't really be allowed to. After all, fewer voters means my vote counts more. On the other hand, it's hard to argue with the numbers for this election: Poll votes-29,531, Absentee ballots-192,840. Anyway, the clued-in poll worker mentioned above told me that King county hadn't decided when it would go to vote-by-mail only elections, so I might have a few more that I can go to the polls for.
  3. I think people don't vote because they don't get stickers. In my youth in California, we got stickers that said "I voted" and all us keeners wore them all day long to remind other people to vote too. I loved those stickers, and I don't know why we don't have them here in Washington. It seems like a small price to pay.

More tomorrow.

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