E is for Elections

E by LeoL on Flickr.comThe first time I was old enough to vote was in college.  It was 1990, and I suspect there was a congressional race going on in Minnesota.  The college I went to was run by the Order of St. Benedict – the women’s branch.

So imagine this: I know nothing about politics.  I’m rather apathetic that way.  I am 18 or 19, and really a lot more interested in trying to figure out how to get my hands on a fake ID so I can sneak into the local bars than knowing who’s running to represent me in the House of Representatives.  And there is this nun, trying to corral me into the basement of one of the dorms, SHAMING me into voting.

I didn’t vote again for years – the trauma of that nun, admonishing me, stayed with me until library school.  And then I took a course in government documents librarianship, and it clicked.  I’ve voted in nearly every election since that one.

Voting in Louisiana was great because of all the laws requiring everyone and their wacky pamphleteering aunt to stay at least 100 yards away from polling places.  No pressure, just me, the old folks running the polling machines, and my vote.  In Pennsylvania, however, I have to run a gauntlet of people shoving "literature" at me until I’m physically in the building.  I hate that – every time I vote here I feel less like I’m exercising my civic duty and mroe like I’ve been assaulted by the electioneering mafia. 

3 thoughts to “E is for Elections”

  1. I think the rule in Pa is 100 feet. I wish they’d get rid of those people altogether. At my polling place where I’m supposed to police such things, they inch closer and closer to the building all day. I think the reason the distance isn’t as far is because in most areas, that would put them at someone else’s doorstep.

  2. Laura, come vote at MY polling place sometime! I vote in someone’s basement. 100 feet or 100 yards or 300 yards – all are at someone’s doorstep in West Philadelphia.

    I believe the laws in the south are more related to voter intimidation and racist intimidation. I just wish PA would adopt some of those more stringent laws, because it’s a much more pleasant environment in which to vote!

  3. I feel the same way. I dread voting sometimes. Then it makes me mad when I pull up to the place and see the small crowd gathered outside. You have to juggle the 10 pieces of paper and never have enough time to read the stuff before voting anyway. They should know better!

    Really enjoying your alphabet by the way! 🙂

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