The Cynical Electorate


As John mentioned, today was Election Day in the states.
Over the past couple of weeks, there’s been growing buzz about close races and how power could be shifting. For me, that’s not nearly as interesting as the lack of “buzz,” nay of public outcry about the pathetic state of voting machines and processes in this country.
I’ve registered as an absentee voter since 2000, not so much because I’m actually absent or can’t make it down to a polling place. Rather, an absentee ballot was the only way I could figure out how to avoid the whole argument I would want to have about not wanting to use an electronic voting machine on Election Day. By its very nature, an absentee ballot must be on paper, and therefore an artifact of my vote exists.
So, for every election, I’ve wandered down to my polling place—and for a bit of Americana, how’s this: it’s in a bowling alley—and dropped my [paper] absentee ballot in this antiquated little box/bag thingy.
I honestly don’t know what happens to it after that. I’ve often wondered if that’s any better than just sucking it up and using the electronic machines.
The cynic in me says the county doesn’t even bother counting my paper ballot anyway, presumably because it would require disgusting things like ripping open an envelope and putting it in some scanner thingy… or (god forbid!) having to count my pen squiggles with eyes! (How positively… Ew! That’s not even Web 1.0… that’s like… 19th century… Democracy 1.0!)
But, it makes me feel better to go through this dance every election… and even if it’s not counted, it’s probably better than just not exercising my right to vote at all.
Even still… the “greatest democracy in the world” can do better. A lot better.
One need only perform a quick GooTube search to find out how true that really is.1


All-in-all, a lot of changes to blue across the country.2
Locally, most of the people and issues I voted for won, with some stinging defeats.
Exactly as it should be in a democracy.
1 I happened to see the last ten minutes of this at a friend’s house, and the most conflicted scene for me was this polling worker crying after seeing how easy it was to hack a vote when using Diebold’s machine. Part of me wanted to smack her and go “Well, what the hell did you expect?” Part of me was just disappointed that that’s all we have in us: shock and disbelief and sadness. But, election after election, we don’t do anything about it.
2 Which by no means was expected, but neither was it entirely surprising.