As tomorrow is election day, and I am posting late in the day, if you are an American voter and reading this on the 6th: please go vote!
Personally, I voted today – Monday – and I have to say that some aspects of the Oregon voting system are quite boring and disappointing, and I’m glad not to have lived here for my first election year. Rather than the excitement of the last two elections when I awoke early and walked excitedly at 6 am to my local neighborhood polling place, stood excitedly in line, stepped into the little curtained booth and cast my ballot into the sea of opinions … in Oregon, there is no such thing as a polling place, and no such thing as a curtained voting booth. It’s entirely a vote-by-mail system, which has quite a lot of benefits – but lacks a certain thrill that the voting booth confers.
Here are the upsides, as I see them, apart from the main reason of increasing voter participation by way of its ease and convenience:
1) A Secrecy Envelope! This is super exciting, and makes me feel like some kind of high-level intelligence operative. Hooray! (You never know what I might be transporting in my super secret secrecy envelope …)
The method seems to be: the voter identification and signature is checked on the outer mailing envelope, after which the Secrecy Envelope is passed elsewhere and opened after it has been separated from any identifying information.
2) The extremely helpful Voters’ Pamphlet, which has photos and bios and other information about all of the various candidates, removing some of the pain of standing in the booth trying to pick between two random, partyless names for some random local position – and even better, detailed descriptions and financial analyses of, and letters in support for or in opposition to, all of the state ballot measures.
The only mystery, to me, is why Romney’s occupation is listed as “Former Governor of Massachusetts.”
OK – I get that the point is for his political experience to be front and center, although the next line says “I am not a career politician” which makes the occupation line a little funny looking. I personally think he should have put down “active citizen” instead….
And to make a nice, balanced post, here are my top two least favorite parts of voting by mail.
1) The ballot is a scantron form – super boring. Are we taking our SATs and GREs again?
2) Dropping the ballot in a ballot drop box at the library. It’s just. not. exciting. But on the balance, this is, as far as I have found, the only thing I liked better about living in Texas, so on the whole I am Not Complaining. I’ll drop-box in my ballots with much happiness and cheer, and try to pretend I’m wearing my little “I Voted!” sticker all day tomorrow, and be glad to live in Oregon!