Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's a secret so why won't you tell me?

We live in a democratic society. Yeah, sometimes it doesn't feel that way, but over all we have crazy awesome freedoms that the rest of the world doesn't. One of the benefits of having our kind of government is the right to vote for our leaders. We do this by ballot, standing in lines for protected booths to fill out our cards, and slip our selection cards into an electronic reader. That reader keeps our identity secret and we aren't harassed by apposing parties for the vote we just made. It's a fallible system, but it does work most of the time. We won't discuss "chads" (ahem, Florida).

So imagine my surprise when I get a call from my totally pissed off sister who lives in another State. They were holding primary elections and she drove over to the municipal building to vote, where her local government whoseywho told her to go to cast her ballot. Arriving there, the doors were locked and an alternate location was indicated, the community center down the street. So Sis goes to the comm center, parks her car, and goes inside. She's greeted by a sign. It tells her that if she's voting Republican, sign in and vote on the right side of the room. If she's going to vote Democratic, stand on the left.

When asked, WTF, she was told that it made secondary rounds easier because then all she had to do was stand in the correct line and it would allow her to only vote for the appropriate party choices. How stupid is that?

Um. Private vote much?

She asked if they were serious and what ever happened to casting a secret ballot, especially since she doesn't vote along party lines (I'm so proud of her!), as she votes for the individual best suited for the position. She was told she had to pick a party and go to either one side or the other. My Sis pointed her finger and spun around with her eyes closed--me thinks she was making a point, yes?--and got into line. They told her that she was at the wrong place and to travel to another location.

Sis went to the new address where lo and behold, it's a church. A CHURCH, folks. Isn't there something about separation of church and State? Hm? She was told to vote for her public officers in a church. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with that? To further the insult, they too required her to step to one side or the other.

She said she didn't spin around this time but went to both lines one after the other. They didn't want to give her two ballots, obviously. She did promise to throw the extra one away since the system would only take one card anyway. No dice. Sis then was informed that she was again at a wrong location (though this one was only 2 miles from her house) and sent to a fourth location OUT OF THE COUNTY!


Are they weeding out the subversives who refuse to stick to a party? And what the hell is wrong with people that they can't shop across the aisle for the people who will be leading the country (okay, the State)? Voting in a church? I don't care what your religious views are (yes, I have them too), when church and State are separate, doesn't it make it awfully hypocritical of them to then insist you chose your leaders in a religious institution?

Holy Mother of Fucking Obama...


Regina Carlysle said...

The reason for the separate lines is because this is a primary election. This will decide the dem and rep candidates who will face of in the general election in November. In November there won't be separate lines. As to the church thing? No, I don't get that either. I think it's inappropriate. I usually vote at a nearby elementary school but other polling places are in churches. Don't like it at all.

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

What if you're an independent? I assume if that's the case, you don't get to vote in the Primary. I vote at the neighborhood nature preserve in a temporary trailer. I too disagree with voting in a church. Separation of church and state much?

Brynn Paulin said...

Separation of church and state only happens when it's convenient for the government to have it that way or when someone forces the point. :-(

J said...

Primaries are for people who belong to a party to vote for who their candidate is that they want to represent their specific party in the next election. It's not for picking who you want to win the overall race. If you're not a member of a specific party, you shouldn't be voting in the primary for that party.

As for the church thing, I don't see a problem with it (and didn't when I was am agnostic). It's a building. Yes, there are a lot of religious symbols and messages around, presumably, but if you're that easily influenced by your environment, I'd question whether you're a responsible voter.

Now, if there's a pastor/priest at the church giving sermon, or they're handing out pamphlets to save your soul before, during, or after your vote, then that's a huge conflict of interest. If the voting booths were manned by members of the congregation, I would equally cry foul.

But it's a building, and churches are nice enough to donate the use of their space for the convenience of the voting public.

April Ash said...

Primaries are party voting. Nothing wrong with being told to vote in one place for the R primary and another place for the D primary. You have to be a registered voter in one of the parties to vote in their primary.

I've voted in a church before. Has to do with location, facility available, and certainly doesn't "taint" anyone's vote. It's a building...that's all.

In CA, I voted in a neighbor's GARAGE. Had one side of the garage empty except for cardboard-like "voting booths"...and if you leaned to one side or the other, the whole "booth" swayed. Again, it was a "place" to vote. Didn't matter whether the neighbor was R or D or whatever, that's where we voted for two years.

Looking for a problem with voting locations creates nothing but sighs. Just vote. No one "sees" what you're voting. That part is private, whether they have you line up outside a food store where booths are available, in a church, in a school, public building, or garage.

My 4 cents.

ErotRomReader (Janna) said...

WOW, talk about dumb ass stuff. We have different sort of elections in the Netherlands but this kind of situations I've never heard of!

Meanwhile I have tagged you this time ;) and I hope you're not too busy to play this:

Rassles said...

Oddly enough, I vote at a Temple. So at least we know that they're spanning different religions.