Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Thing Number Twenty | Carry

I carry my husband’s absentee ballot and my voter guide and sample ballot to our polling precinct. Today is the primary election in California and it always takes me by surprise. Voting in June? Don’t we vote in November?

Jon’s been voting by absentee ballot since grad school. Back then, it made sense because work days followed by classes made for a difficult time getting to the polls. Although, funny thing, when our county tried electronic voting at the polls, Jon had to get the voting stations up and running so the people waiting could vote. The volunteers at our precinct didn’t know how to set up the system but my tech-savvy husband figured it out. And then promptly switched to absentee ballot, while our county went back to paper ballots. At this point, he doesn’t need to vote absentee, it’s just more convenient. Whenever I hand in his ballot at the polls, the worker looks mildly shocked that we’ve handled it correctly:  his signature on the bottom of the envelope and mine at the top, along with my printed name and my relationship to him. Apparently most absentee voters don’t follow the directions.

I generally vote “no” on new taxes. I have a difficult time working so hard and giving so much of my paycheck to the government for programs that I don’t support (e.g., the NEA; why should my money go toward bad art?). I did vote “yes” on Prop 29, which is a tax on cigarettes. I honestly don’t care where the money goes, I just want to discourage people from smoking. I tend to vote the ticket when it comes to elected officials because I support a political philosophy more than individual politicians. I have a hard time, however, voting for any candidate who has cheated on his or her spouse. It seems to me that private morals would have to inform public decision-making. And cheating’s cheating. If you cheat on your spouse I can’t help but think that you would be just as likely to cheat your constituents.

I’m a Republican. I believe in a small federal government, states’ rights, lower taxes, and less entitlement programs. Which is odd, I guess, because I work in the public schools and teachers’ unions are notoriously pro-Democrat.

And that’s ok. I’m just glad to be part of the process. To have the right to vote and to vote any way I choose. And to be outvoted, if that is the will of the majority.

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