Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day

Civic duty for the day completed. But no "I Voted" sticker. What gives?? Budget cuts? It's like not getting a cookie after donating blood. Furthermore, I continue to be shocked that I do not need to produce any sort of ID at my polling station so long as the name I say to the pollworker happens to be on the list. While observing elections in remote Ukrainian or Tajik villages (pop. in the double digits), I always feel guilty watching the pollworkers greet incoming neighbors that they'd known since birth, then cast a wary eye upon us overseers, then mumble to the neighbor that they'd need to see some ID, please.

Not to mention, at least when I'm observing parliamentary elections, it really sticks in my craw to watch each and every voter exercise a right that I, as a DC citizen, don't enjoy. Blind leading the blind.

At my polling station today, we had the choice of paper ballot or touch-screen. For my highly sensitive and crucial DC vote, I opted for paper. According to the pollworker I asked, everybody's going for paper. That cheered me, a little.

What didn't cheer me is the number of educated, politically minded acquaintances I have that happen to be registered in other states (some hosting crucial races) that didn't bother to get an absentee ballot. What does it take, people?? I have great reservations about mandatory voting systems such as Australia's, but perhaps the threat of a $20 fine would be greater motivation to my friends than, oh, wholesale dismantling of the value system they hold dear. Whatever it takes.


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