Tuesday, November 4, 2003

From the "No wonder people don't bother" file:

Went to vote this morning and realized that it's the first time I'm voting IN New York City. I've voted absentee while in the Army, in New Jersey while living there, and even in Virginia last year, where I was impressed by their hi-tech setup. My polling place for today was a beat-up warehouse of a church manned primarily by what appeared to be beneficiaries of their Meals On Wheels program. Seriously. Other than the three college-age kids helping out, there wasn't a volunteer there under the age of 70. I'm just saying...

Interestingly, for all of the multi-lingual advertising I've seen for this election, the official Board of Election handouts at the booth explaining the five proposals on the ballot were only available in English and Spanish despite the fact that there's a small Asian community (2.1% vs. 7.1% white, largely concentrated in Riverdale) within our district, many of them first-generation, many of them assigned to that particular polling place. The instructions on how to operate the ancient voting machine were available in several other languages, though.

"This is how you vote; don't worry about understanding what you're voting for. Thank you for participating in our democracy. Next!"

I was also annoyed to realize, having paid much more attention to the proposals than the actual candidates, that the whole outcry over eliminating partisan primaries was completely hypocritical when it came to the State Supreme Court as four of the six candidates vying for the four open spots were on both the Democratic and Republican ticket!!! One of them even managed to take a Conservative party slot, the only other party offering an alternative. Same thing for District Attorney as the only guy running represented all three party slots!

In arguing against non-partisan elections yesterday, the major party leaders on the City Council argued that it "could result in a system of stealth candidates who don whichever party label is most expedient...How are voters to know what these people really stand for or hold them accountable?" Yeah, sure. It's much easier to tell what they stand for when they're representing both major parties like unopposed DA Robert T. Johnson. Please!

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