Sunday, October 31, 2004

My Civic Duty

Well, my absentee ballot is anxiously awaiting me in Baghdad, but since there's no way for me to get to it, I just went to the Embassy here in Amman this morning to pick up a federal write-in ballot. I only got to vote for president/vice president (or as the ballot says, "vise" president - tell me this isn't a government operation?!) and congressional representative (I hope I got the right district), but I still got to vote. The issue may be that it won't get back to the Davidson County Election Commission in time. According to their rules, it has to be in to them by the time that the polls close on Tuesday. But it's going by diplomatic mail, so maybe it has a chance. At least I did everyting _I_ could do to get it there.

The coolest thing about picking up the write-in ballot was that I saw my friend Col. Brennan (from the IAC)! He extended his reserve term for a year and has been working at the embassy here in Amman. He happened to be coming into work as we were talking to the folks at the information desk. Small world, huh?! For those who know them, I also saw Maj. Mendez, but not Cpt. Pogge. Although since I've never met her, I wouldn't have known her if she _had_ walked by.

So after all the hassle I've gone to in order to vote in a manner which it's not likely to be counted (they only count absentee ballots if the race is so close that they could swing it...and that's just not gonna happen in TN)...all of y'all had been walk the five minutes from your house to your polling place and do your voting too. And just in case my ballot doesn't get to Nashville in time, vote in my place still too. :)

Just remember - you have no right to complain if you didn't participate in the process!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, with the way the voting system is set up, combined with the current state of politics in this nation, your vote is mostly meaningless. You point this out yourself Mel: your vote wont be counted. Even if you were in TN, it still wouldn't matter: Bush is going to carry TN by 10-15%.

Reader's Digest carried an interesting article last month about why your vote was basically meaningless unlesss you lived in a handful of borderline states (FL, OH, MI, etc). Outside of those states, there is little reason to vote in the national elections. If you're reading this and can get your hands on that issue of RD, it's a worthwhile read for those who disagree w/ me. (I'm not saying it'll change any minds)

Now a few states are trying to improve the situation by awarding the electoral votes in relation to the outcome of the vote: 50%/50% means the candidates split the electoral votes in that state. Had this been the case last year, Gore would have won. Unfortunately until all the states do this, for the majority, it still doesn't matter.

But what's the incentive to split the electoral vote in states that have a solid majority? For the majority party (who likely controls the legistlative process), none: they'd effectively end up giving away electoral votes to the other party. Why would CA or TN put such a fair system in place?

Which is, in and of itself a problem. Some problems may be binary, but few people are. Our de-evolution into a two-party system is inherently flawed. What's a person to do if they like neither Bush nor Kerry?

*sighs* Sorry, forgive my rant. All and all I'm just a disenfranchised brick in the wall.


ps - Mel, I currently have "Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars" sitting on TiVo (lee hasn't watched it yet). I know you're coming back sooner than expected, but how soon do you expect to be in MD? I might be persuaded to keep them around a bit longer if you were going to be in town soonish. They do eat up 4 hours of high quality space on the machine tho (out of 11 total high quality hours).