Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Old Chicago Adage: Vote Early & Often

That was the lesson I learned as a gung-ho, radical college student. I suspect it's still taught at mothers' knees in the neighborhoods of the windy city. After all, local politics is the city's secular religion. Where else would a socialist alderman from the reform-minded 5th Ward (i.e., University of Chicago area) be able (and willing) to fix a ticket along with the most loyal machine Democrats?

But that was then. Today was now! Very little electioneering evident at my polling place. Just this one guy with a sign -- and he more visible from Gurley Street than from most entrances to the voting booths.

Here's the entrance, with signs, of course. No cell phones. Nothing said about cameras, you'll note. I did ask the assorted election officials & judges. As far as they knew, there was no law about taking pictures. So I did.

This is the first sight I saw upon entry. These citizens are using the paper ballot, filling the circles with a lovely deep black, very inky pen. Just like those machine-scored tests back in school!

Another voter getting his ballot.

If one felt high-tech and trusting, there was a touch screen model optional. I didn't see anyone using it while I was present.

My turn -- checking the ID against the roll.

I get my long, long ballot.

It's finished -- I had to carry a cheat sheet because of the overload of propositions. Arizona is a western state, where citizen-initiated law is the rule. Like California.

This machine slurps my ballot -- and maybe it also scans the document to add to the totals. I didn't get that info clear.

In any event, the paper ballots are stored in this locked box just in case anyone raises an eyebrow about the count. After that civic workout, it was time to go across the street to the local cafe for B&G, coffee and a newspaper.

Where I ruminate. I may not be in Chicago any more, but I still believe in the voting booth, if at all possible. Yes, it is easier to sit at the kitchen table by yourself with a mail-in ballot. About as exciting as making out a shopping list, isn't it? For my money, that approach puts ever more distance between the citizen and Them. No -- give me the rituals, the citizen and party people overseeing the voting scene, the interaction of voting with others at the local precinct. I still celebrate that secular religion I learned in Chicago.

9 comments:

coyoteradiotheater said...

I agree with you whole-heartedly, Julie. There is just something about going out to vote with your fellow citizens that makes me proud and happy. Makes me remember that these decisions need to take into account the good of all, not just my own fanny-wag opinions.

I remember standing in line to vote in a church basement in Rogers Park on the Northside and being just about to cry I was so happy. Such a Capra-esque moment.

Kate said...

And there I was, afraid I was going to have to bail you from jail for getting arrested for taking pics. I knew you would document The Vote! I, too, had the "vote early, vote often" motto ringing in my head--the result of being raised by you, I am sure.

(P.S. Your comment page is all whacked out...Is this a Blogger thing?)

Kate said...

Okay, not whacked out now. Hmm.

Granny J said...

Blogger has been behaving badly. Last night, it ate all my pictures for a while, then regurgitated them finally & I retracted my complaint that you may have read.

catalyst said...

Curiously, that impulse to "go to the polls" lives on. While my wife and I voted early and leisurely at home, her daughter said she preferred the exercise of going to a polling place on election day to cast her ballot.

Lane said...

I LOVE to vote, and have a bit of a hard time not snarking at folks who don't do it. I take my teenager whenever I can and let her push the button like circles on the screen. She gets a kick out of it, and I think it's good training. I, too, take a cheat sheet...in fact I use a cheat researcher as well. I have a friend, cut from similar political cloth, who follows candidates records, platforms etc. with much vim. He lets me know "the ones" to choose, and I am grateful, if a bit sheepish, to have more info than I would gather.

Steve G said...

Your vote is worth the time or trouble you spent casting it. Good on you.

k said...

I whole-heartedly approve! Of course you may have guessed that already. The pix are just great!

I missed going inside, of course, but even paricipating with the People in my wonderful Curbide Service for Disabled Persons vote was a sharing type of experience.

Maybe next time I'll be all scootered-up and can do the whole thing once again. But I was so bummed at thinking I couldn't make it at all this year, it was sure worth it to do like I did.

Yep. I love to vote, too.

Granny J said...

Everybody -- you should go over to k's blog to read about her voting adventure...

 
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