austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

If the country's going Gracie so can you

Tuesday was my the first chance to vote non-absentee ballot (presentee ballot?) in a half decade. So I met the folks who run the polling station, who sort-of know me by reputation because I share the same name as my father. I sign my voter registration with a 'jr' but use it nowhere else and it's not part of my name, thank you; I only use that to avoid confusion when we're registered in the same district. This has never worked, as somehow he and I are always printed on different pages of the voter registry, he reports, and they always go to the wrong page and he has to direct them to the other signature.

They went to the right page for me, and I got to explaining why I had never actually been to this polling station before despite having a pretty good track record in voting, even in as off a voting year as you get in New Jersey. The year-before-Presidential-elections here the only electoral choice is trying to remember whether you have a state senator. The only interesting referendum question, to my mind, was about removing the state prohibition on votes from the insane. I suppose we should thank the eugenicist whackmobiles of the past for putting these prohibitions in so many state constitutions so we can be very nearly amused by another one being removed every couple years, but I'd rather society had skipped the whole eugenicist whackmobile phase.

They've put in electronic ballot-flavored voting helper machines, but I have to admit the integration of lighted elements and the greater size formats are probably an aid to voting accurately. There's not so many identical little levers and small print. It's odd the button to record the vote just turns off all the interior lighting. It would be a better user interface if it signalled something positive, rather than looking like you broke it.

I had lost my official voter registration postcard, but I had more documentation of my existence than they wanted (I still had together the stuff from getting my replacement drivers license). And Troy, New York did send me an application for an absentee ballot from there. I hope that they haven't been offended by my electoral absence.

Trivia: In 1790, out of 6700 adult white males in New York City, only 1800 were qualified to vote in municipal elections. Source: Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, Edwin G Burrows, Mike Wallace.

Currently Reading: Box Boats: How Container Ships Changed The World, Brian J Cudahy.


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