Skip to main content

Things that irritated me about voting THIS time...

Voting is always a strange experience. For months there's all this weird hype about the General Election, the importance of voting, blah blah blah...and so you feel like the moment you walk into the polling place the skies are going to open up and the Hand of God is going to come down and give you a ballot and a golden quill pen as a heavenly light beam shines down upon you...

Wrong.

You pretty much just walk into the polling place; usually a school or other type institution. People greet you. They hand you a piece of paper or direct you to a voting machine. And, if you're like me and you vote a straight ticket, voting is a pretty quick and oddly unsatisfying process. You fill in one single dot or press one single button. And...that's it. No fanfare. No marching band waiting for you outside the door. No phone call from your candidate. All you get is a paltry little sticker and the sense of pride (hope, really) that you didn't do anything wrong and that your vote will actually count.

But I digress... Here's what really irritated me about voting in Indiana:

1.) There was an Eagle symbol next to the Republican Party box and a Rooster next to the Democratic Party box. Are "they" trying to exert some sort of covert influence on the undecided voter? Indiana is a pretty conservative state and I can't help but taste a little more than a tincture of conservative influence in the way they use the National Bird as the symbol for the Republican party. Last I checked it was Elephants vs. Donkeys...which is curious enough to begin with. But since when is the Democratic party associated with Roosters? Smells fishy to me. In my admittedly paranoid, persecuted mind, it seems like they are saying: "The Republicans are America. The Democrats are cocksure, squawking birds whose only function is to make noise," and I don't like it. This may seem like a small thing, but when it comes to something so sensitive as the right of people to vote and be free from any undue influence, you've got to watch little things like this.

2.) The paper ballot. Come on. What century are we in? We do goddam EVERYTHING on computers nowadays, including civic duties like paying taxes, renewing driver's licenses, etc. I just felt a little queasy inserting my ballot into this little blue box with a bunch of other ballots, with some woman (probably a Republican) watching over the box. I was like, "Um...you guys are...gonna count that, right? Er..." Also, I couldn't help but feel this odd feeling like I'd done something wrong on the ballot, not filled-out some crucial piece of information, some dot or box, that would make my ballot invalid. I wanted some clarification, some confirmation that I did everything properly. The fewer people between my vote and whomever counts it, the better. And the fewer opportunities I (and other people) have to screw up, the better. Get rid of the paper ballot.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review: "The Apologizer" by Milan Kundera

Issue: May 4, 2015

Rating: $$

Review: It took me five years and three separate attempts to finish Milan Kundera's famous novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, but in spite of that, quotes and insights from that book still rattle round my head on a weekly basis. What I mean to say is: my feelings on Kundera are very similar to my feelings on Haruki Murakami. I enjoy reading his work, but in small doses, like this short story.

Like Murakami, Kundera uses elements of magical realism, but where in a Murakami story you might encounter a flying dolphin or a disappearing hotel or a person who has lived his whole life in the same room, refusing to leave, Kundera's magical realism offers more direct insights and perspective on real life.

In Kundera's worlds, time and space are malleable and everything that ever happened in history is happening at the same time, and the narrator is a completely omniscient, caring, witty, and hands-on god-like being.

And so it is with "The Apo…

New Yorker Fiction Reviews: "Meet the President!" by Zadie Smith

Each week I review the short fiction from a recent issue of The New Yorker. If you told me when I was 12 that I'd be doing this I'd have been like, "Dork. There's no such thing as blogs," and I'd have been right...

Issue: Aug. 12 & 19, 2013

Story: "Meet the President!"

Author:Zadie Smith

(Please note: I've developed a highly sophisticated grading system, which I'll be using from now on.  Each story will now receive a Final Grade of either READ IT or DON'T READ it. See the bottom of the review for this story's grade...after you've read the review, natch.)

Plot: Set in England, far into the future (lets say 2113) a privileged youth of 15, named Bill Peek, encounters a few poor villagers from a small, abandoned coastal town on the southeast shore. He meets a little girl named Aggie, who is going to her sister's funeral. Peek is cut-off from real life by a sophisticated video game system that is implanted in his head, therefore th…

A Piece of Advice I Learned From My Grandfather

My grandfather was one of the most learned men I know. He read widely and voraciously, and not just in the sciences (he was a doctor); he loved politics, philosophy, and great literature as well. Whenever he finished a book he would write his thoughts about the book in the front cover and then sign and date it. To this day every once in a while I will open a book from my bookshelf or my mother's bookshelf, or at one of my family members' homes, and there will be my grandfather's handwriting. He was also a great giver of his books; if you remarked that you liked a particular one or wanted to read it, you were almost sure to take it home with you.

Reading is a very solitary pursuit but my grandfather was not a solitary person. He relished having family and friends around him which is convenient because he was blessed with a lot of both. And he carried out his intellectual life in a very "public" way as well. He was, in some ways, an intellectual evangelist. If he r…