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03 November 2004 @ 04:00 pm
fucked up surreal thing  
i voted Tuesday afternoon. and it was fucked up. here's the story.

i wasn't going to vote for president in this election. i really wasn't. i was gonna vote for all the other positions open for me in the state of connecticut, but i knew my vote for president wouldn't count for too much. connecticut is not a swing state, its gone democrat for every election i can remember, including the last one in which i'd voted. i'd voted for gore, like the majority of the state (and hell of a lot of good it did us). such is the electoral college here. a kerry vote would be a drop in the bucket, and anyone else would be a drop that missed the bucket.

but i saw my mom the weekend before the election, and she told me how disappointed she was that she wasn't going to be able to vote...she was flying out early in the morning on tues. to colorado, because her best friend from nursing school is dying. and so i said to my mother, "who were you going to vote for? i'll vote for them for you." she seemed kind of taken aback, and didn't believe me at first. i told her really, by not voting, she would be like me, and i would stand in for her to vote for president. so she told me what i figured she would...she wanted to vote for bush. and i told her okay, because i knew it wouldn't sway the electoral college of ct either way. i knew at least half the kids on my campus alone were gonna outweigh it, let alone the rest of the state.

so, when it came time to vote, i knew what i was going to do. i walked into the voting booth (which by the way are very easy to use, mechanical things without paper involved) and pulled down all the little levers for the things like state representative and senator, voting mostly democrats. and then i stopped and looked at the levers by the names of the people running for president. and i just stopped for a little bit. could i really do this? could i pull the lever for the guy i wanted to kill innumerable times in the last four years? i looked at kerry's name, and felt no spark calling me to choose his. the rest of the state was doing that for me. i was doing this for my mom. my vote was a no vote for this one. so i pulled down the tab for bush and threw the lever to cast my vote.

by far, this was the most surreal thing i've done in a damn long time. but i still live in a blue state. so i have no guilt. all i have is amazement so many other people in the middle of the country chose that same lever. what a weird fucking world it is.
Mood: weirded out
Music: Guided By Voices - 10-Mix Up The Satellites
Alex Staherskiintheblacklodge on November 3rd, 2004 09:05 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I miss those lever voting machines! We got to play with those when we would have like pseudo-elections back in elementary school, but when it came time that I was actually old enough to vote, they'd all been phased out.
Mellen: whatever am i s'ppose to do?absentmammoth on November 3rd, 2004 09:08 pm (UTC)
why were the phased out? they seem to work just fine.
Alex Staherskiintheblacklodge on November 3rd, 2004 09:10 pm (UTC)
Oh come on, seriously. Think about what you just said. ;-)
Mellen: whatever am i s'ppose to do?absentmammoth on November 3rd, 2004 09:17 pm (UTC)
then how come my state still has them then? is it so small that no one cares?
Alex Staherskiintheblacklodge on November 3rd, 2004 09:20 pm (UTC)
I think there are still a few places that have them. Most places have gone electronic by now though.
Short Girlblistex on November 3rd, 2004 09:27 pm (UTC)
That's actually not true at all - my Sunday paper had a map of the country that looked like the typical "Bush/Kerry predictions" but was actually color coded based on what system they use to vote (electronic, lever, paper, punch card). There were only two states that were all electronic (one of them, oddly, Georgia), and most places were still using levers or punch cards.
steppenwolf418 on November 5th, 2004 12:36 am (UTC)
Supposedly the idea for the electronic system came from Brasil. They claim to have the best voting system in the world, and is slowly being copied by the US, which is in desperate need for an upgrade (CT especially).

phenyx on November 3rd, 2004 09:30 pm (UTC)
I've never understood the American obsession with machine voting.
Then again, I've never understood why all the elections happen on the same day, either, necessitating this five-foot-long ballot.

Much simpler in Canada. Federal elections are run by Elections Canada, a nonpartisan organization attached to the federal government. Paper and pencil ballots. Mark an X next to your preferred candidate.
theotherjoey on November 3rd, 2004 10:46 pm (UTC)
conservatives don't trust people not to mess with votes...presumably, because they'd do it themselves, so they think everyone else would as well. so they put in place voting machines, so ideally, you can't alter your vote once you make your final decsion...

some places do use paper ballots though.
xoriana on November 3rd, 2004 09:45 pm (UTC)
i think it's wonderful that you did that for your mother. i'm sure it meant a lot to her, and that she appreciates that you did that for her. i'd like to hope that you wouldn't feel guilty about doing that even if it had made a difference; you helped someone you care about, and i think that counts for a lot.
Mellenabsentmammoth on November 3rd, 2004 10:28 pm (UTC)
thanks tara barnum, you're a very understanding person. on lots of issues, heh.

hope your voting was as much "fun", hehe.
theotherjoey on November 3rd, 2004 10:53 pm (UTC)
whoa. that was wonderful of you, especially considering your opinion of bush...

how long was the wait to get into the polling place?
Mellenabsentmammoth on November 4th, 2004 12:10 am (UTC)
i walked in, stood behind one person in front of me, then got a voting booth. there were a couple people behind me too. i know that many people do go and vote at the polling place i use in my hometown, as i have been there at times when it was a long wait, but i went at a non-peak hour (1:30 in the afternoon, most people are at work so they vote earlier or later).
theotherjoey on November 4th, 2004 04:13 am (UTC)
the lines at most polling places here were at least half an hour long even during off hours...though that could easily have been from bad orgainization, this being palm beach county...