I voted yesterday in the primaries.
One of our neighbours convinced Patrick to stand outside the polling place and greet people yesterday for several hours, handing out fliers and trying to convince them that they NEEDED to vote YES on Proposition C. It was one of the hottest days of the summer, too. Patrick said that he was expecting a big debate with argumentative voters... or something. Most people just take the paper and nod at him on their way in, he told me.
When I went in to vote, I had to literally pass THREE OTHER POLLING STATIONS to get where I needed to be. This is all kinds of wrong, for them to redistrict me like that. They do that so that all the icky rich transients who live on the Kansas City side in the new McMansions can vote at the megachurch with the airconditioning and lush carpet. Eew. (**I** want to be an icky rich transient, but not having enough money, I'm going to sit here and eew at the icky rich transients and their granite countertops and nickel drawer pulls, and the fact that they get to vote at the megachurch while I'm at the "smelling like musty basement mini-church 20 minutes away," mmkay?)
Poor folks like me must drive forever to vote. Sure, if I were a crow, I could make the flight about a mile away. Not being a crow, I had to use these things called STREETS. Streets go all sorts of weird directions, and sometimes you literally "can't get there from here" unless you want to go all the way across town and circle back. I think some dude at the election office just took a compass and drew circles around polling places and redistricted that way, and nevermind about how the ROADS go or how long it will take people to get there.
I took the VOTE YES ON PROP C paper they were handing out and nodded at the worker on my way in. But once you open the door, the voting place makes you PUT AWAY your papers. You can't even wear a shirt with a candidate's name on it in to vote. They call that "electioneering," and they make you leave or cover it up.
Every voting place has a Democrat and a Republican worker specially hired to sign every paper ballot and check your ID. No one, I guess, is worried about the interests of Libertarians or other parties. (They don't count, I suppose.) I had to tell them my name and address and show them my ID. Then they look up my name in the Book. If you are not in the Book, you do not get to vote.
I had to sign the Book in two places and get my ballot. Oh! "Getting your ballot" is not an easy process. There are five to choose from. Several different parties, and one "independent" ballot, which really means "you don't get to vote for ANY candidates at all, just the propositions." I usually ask for a Democratic ballot and try to mess up the other party by picking a real loo-ser. The scary thing is is that sometimes, these loo-sers go on to win the election.
I decided on a Republican one this time. You can decide what party you are right at the voting place, and change it every time you vote. Maybe next time I will ask about one of the miscellaneous party ballots for fun. You can choose only ONE ballot, though. You don't get to vote for more than one party's candidate, EVEN THOUGH obviously the guys in the other party might just be representing you later on.
It's confusing, but they explained that each person only gets to vote ONCE. (Yeahh, I knoww, but it's still confusing.)
So. I have to have my ballot signed by the Republican AND Democratic people there and my ballot number is no doubt entered into a system somewhere. They are marking down every time a ballot leaves their hands, both of them signing everything.
Some young fella then came in with a spiked hairdo and a bunch of piercings. He got directed to a "touch screen." It was explained to everyone in the room (the workers, me, some random businessman in a suit, and the young guy) that those machines are for people under 25 because they are the only ones who know how to work it. (I guess the workers don't? Because they were both pushing 70.) I sorta felt discriminated against, standing there at the voting table where everyone could see what I was filling in with my Ebony (tm) pencil. But the old fellow at the table assured me that if I knew how to use it, I could vote that way next time.
Once again... I suspected the workers didn't know how to use it, or they'd have offered it to me and shown me how. Or maybe they don't like people over 25? Or... oh. They couldn't be bothered explaining it to me, and it's easier just to let the older folks do things the way they've always been done. That's probably it. Laziness... not discrimination. Well, I guess I'm ok with that.
I voted on the Republican candidates, and many of these are just not choices at all. Only one circle to fill in as many are unopposed in the primaries. I filled the circles in anyway so that my ballot wouldn't be invalidated. You never know. I also voted on this Proposition C thing, for all the good it will do.
I don't see where it's all that revolutionary as they're making it out to be in the press. All the proposition says is that the government shall not penalize citizens who choose not to buy health insurance. I have chosen not to buy suspenders for years and face no penalties from my government. I mean, if my pants fall down because I'm so thin and didn't plan ahead and use suspenders (HA!), then that is all my fault, my poor planning and my bad.
Seriously, I do think it is a good idea to purchase health insurance. And a bad idea for my government to force me to do it.