Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Genuinely Unsatisfying Experience

This election, in part because I will be in Mexico on election day, I became a permanent absentee voter.  So last week my wife and I filled out our ballots and mailed them in.  Compared to the experience of going into the local polling place the experience was a bust.  I wanted to vote because there are several clear choices in this election both on candidates and on propositions.   While many of the views I hold are likely to not be held by a majority of the electorate, this is a chance for me to express my opinion.

I've participated in a couple of wave elections in my lifetime.  This one seems like it will also be a wave - although if the polls are right, California will not track the national polls.   We seem likely to re-elect Jerry Brown as governor after a 28 year hiatus (but one in which he continued to live off the public trough) and to re-elect the least competent member of the US Senate.

But the whole experience of expressing my opinion in the privacy of my home seemed less than thrilling.  It left me cold.   I wonder how others feel about this new way of voting - where at least in California will soon be the majority way to vote.  There are some odd consequences of this new procedure.  For my wife and I there was no chance to influence our vote after the middle of last week - sorry to all you national celebrities who phoned me to personally ask me to vote for X.   All those stupid - my opponent is a known (fill in the blank) - commercials have had no effect on me.  For those who voted earlier - even the new cooked polls (which seem to be almost predominant this year) cannot scare away my vote.   But as I said, the whole experience left me cold.  I wonder if they will continue to reduce the number of poll watchers for election day - we should not need as many as in the past.

If this new trend says we are all too busy to exercise our civic responsibility at one time - then too bad for us.  It also led me to think about whether an enterprising candidate will start to stage early voter election night parties.  Perhaps two weeks before the election, you could invite all your early voters to come and celebrate with you.   As I the whole experience of voting absentee left me cold.


Greg Scheiderer said...

Our state has had permanent absentee voting for many years. I resisted signing up for many years, as I, too, liked the ritual of going out and seeing the poll workers and signing in. I always tried to be first in my precinct.

Then in the wee, small, dark hours of Election Day of 2000, on my way into the polling place I stepped into some dog crap that had been deposited on the sidewalk sometime during the night. I took this as a metaphor for my presidential choices, signed up as a permanent absentee, and never looked back.

Now all counties in the state save one are conducting elections by mail anyway.

Dr. Tax in Sacramento said...

Very funny. Also, I think genuinely unsatisfying.