i'm a party (line) girl...


Good morning!
Originally uploaded by mamamusings.
I exercised my civic duty this morning, and was delighted to see a much larger number of cars than usual in the parking lot of the school where I vote. I know our votes won't count much in the presidential race, but they will in the congressional races.

I don't spend a lot of time poring over each candidate's statements and views--my daddy raised me on party line politics, and that's still how I cast my votes.

Now, this isn't blind vote-casting. My dad's a retired political science professor, who's spent his entire adult life watching and studying electoral processes. His advice to me was to vote for the party whose platform and politics I wanted implemented, rather than for the imperfect people representing those parties.

It reminds me a lot of a line in the "twelve traditions" of AA and Al-Anon--the one where it says "ever reminding us to place principles above personalities."

It's easy to ignore negative advertising when it focuses on the person rather than the issues. It's easy, too, to be fooled by advertising that pushes the character of the candidate over his or her positions on those issues.

At the end of the day, the ideas and goals of the Democratic Party are the ones that I believe in, so voting is easy.

We still use those lovely mechanical machines--the ones they've been using since I was a small child. I love pulling the lever to close the curtains--it has such a solid sound to it, a definitive announcement of presence. And there's no mistaking the line of levers next to my party of choice. (On some machines, there's actually a lever that lets you select all the party's candidates at once; this machine required me to select them individually.)

And then, with one more pull of the lever, my votes are cast. I take the self-congratulatory sticker from the gray-haired man by the door, and walk back out into the rain. It's going to be a long day.


The sounds. Pulling the levers. Thanks. I knew there was something missing at our election site. There was no "machinery of politics" happening there. Just slipping past the curtains. Pressing the lighted board. And then, just a beeping sound (hinting you made the WRONG choices) as you leave the booth. Bring back the grinding gears and the exercise you went through making the choices. This electronic version is too ATM-ish.

Levers? Wow, I had no idea you could vote with levers! What fun! Does it get stamped onto paper somehow, or does it just get registered straight into a machine?

This is the first I've seen a voting machine like the one pictured. At my precinct in Missouri, I was given a paper ballot and a Sharpie marker.

I believe these machines were re-constructed Turing machines, those famous first "computers". You flipped the levers down by each candidate's name. By pulling the lever down, you automatically locked out all other candidates for that position. And if you made a mistake? It was a lot easier easing one lever up and pulling down another. Each election official had a handy can of 3-1 oil, in case the creakiness got TOOO LOOOUD. All they were missing were train engineer's caps. After all of your choices were made, you pulled the BIG LEVER to lock in your votes. The votes were tallied mechanically. Hopefully, the cogs DID move each time you voted. No paper was involved. Machinery, at least then, was still trusted. I remember going with my dad to vote when I was 8-9 years old. The act of voting seemed so physical then. You could even work up a sweat if the list of positions was long and if you made selections all over the political landscape.

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on November 2, 2004 8:22 AM.

who's going to cscw? was the previous entry in this blog.

speaking of parties... is the next entry in this blog.

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