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Election stuff!

Travel Forums Off Topic Election stuff!

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1. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 7y

Now that it's all over and people are sweeping up the ticker tape, I have a pressing question that, for the life of me, I simply could not figure out while watching all the coverage last night:

What goes on in the voting booths???

Up here, you're given a piece of paper and a pencil. You go into the booth and open the piece of paper, where it says something like:

  • Mr. X, Liberal Party of Canada
  • Ms. X, Conservative Party of Canada
  • Mr. X, National Democratic Party
  • M. X, Bloc Qu├ębecois
  • Ms. X, Green Party of Canada
  • Ms. X, Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada

Then you tick off one, head back to the table, and stick it in the box. Whoever has the most votes in your riding represents you in Parliament. Whatever party had the most votes becomes the party in power. Whatever party's in power has already chosen a leader (voted in a party convention) who becomes Prime Minister.

However, there seems to have been a 20-part questionnaire in the U.S. election. I'm totally confused! Do you have to pull up a chair? And you vote for your party AND your President? Talk about choice... and a lot of homework!

So--any thoughts, reflections, jokes, insights...?

2. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 7y

Well, basically the voting booths are just mini-bars for the voters. Depending on your preference, you get either cocktails or coffee/tea. You stand in there drinking your beverage of choice while you play with the black pens - no pencils - or fiddle with the punch card tool or surf the internet on the touch-screen machines. There's no real voting because we have the Electoral College to do that for us. We just pretend to make choices while enjoying free beverages. You take what you think is the appropriate length of time to play so others don't wait in line too long but you also appear to have voted thoughtfully. Too quick and people look at you funny - too slow, same thing. Oh, and you have to leave the pen in the booth for the next person. They don't give you hand sanitizer so you wash your hands as soon as you get home or back to work or wherever you go after you have "voted".

I can tell you how our voting went from a small town approach. We normally have 4 voting booths but this year they added 3 more. You show them your registration card or driver's license (or ID of some sort) and they find your form, which you sign and then they hand you your ballot and explain what to do. This year, it was a 2-sided ordeal. They stick the ballot into a cardboard "holder" so no-one but you touches it once they hand it to you. You enter the booth, pick up the black pen (no blue or red - don't want to appear partisan) and look at your choices. There were 8 candidates for President. VP comes along for the ride - no voting for them. (Florida has 12 Pres. candidates on their ballots.) As you move down the list there will also be voting for US, state and local officials from your district, depending on who's term is almost over. Ours also covered the county coroner, some judges and a referendum for an Illinois Constitutional Congress. (Illinois politicians are trying to impeach the Governor so they want to "debate" the Illinois Constitution. The referendum failed.) Once you have filled out all of the little ovals that you want to fill out, you place the ballot back in the cardboard holder and walk it over to the ballot machine (which I swear is just a big paper shredder). You push the ballot into the machine while an official looks on (making sure you know up from down as not everyone notices the "This Side Up" with big arrows). Once you've done that, you thank them for their time and go home for real cocktails and watch the news.

We left our house at 4:40pm, drove the 5 minutes to the polling place, got our ballots, took our time voting (doublechecking we'd filled out everything correctly), watched the machine eat our ballots, drove the 5 minutes back home, had cocktails poured and the TV on by 5:01pm. Gotta love living in a rural community.

3. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 7y

Quoting Isadora

Well, basically the voting booths are just mini-bars for the voters.

Dang! Now I want a green card...

4. Posted by Reece Sanford (Travel Guru 1368 posts) 7y

Was there a big vote somewhere?????

Tina i remember while i was in the US a certain woman saying we could get married if i wanted to stay in the country.Although her name will remain anonymous :

5. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 7y

Quoting -reece-

Was there a big vote somewhere?????

Tina i remember while i was in the US a certain woman saying we could get married if i wanted to stay in the country.Although her name will remain anonymous :

Ah, yes, the Future Mrs. Bubba, the cross-dressing tranny. I think she may still be single...

6. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 7y

Tina,
I worked for 14 days during our early voting period and all day Nov. 4th. Nevada spent miilions back in 2002 and bought touch screen machines. Anyone who has played video poker on a touch screen will be very familiar with our system.

First step is to verify that you are an eligible voter. In Nevada that meant you had to be registered by Oct. 14th. We find you in the computer system and compare your signature with the one signed when registering. If there is any problem, we then ask for photo ID to verify we have the correct person. We then give the voter an activation card. This has the correct precinct information on it. Everyone can vote for the president/vice president, but depending on where you live, your district has different city/county/state representatives. You can only vote for those representing your district. Our machines do not have a curtain. Privacy screens along the sides, but no curtain. Touch the circle that corresponds to the person you prefer and a check mark appears. You can make corrections if touching the wrong candidate's name. Once you are finished, you touch: 'cast ballot' and your vote is electronically counted. We also have a printed copy of the vote that stays with the machine. This is a back up to the electronics if there are any problems with the computer counted votes. Simple, easy and fun. It takes about 1-2 minutes to vote if you have done your homework first.

This is the United States remember. Each state has different rules, regulations and different voting machines. The world became aware of this in 2000 when Florida had major problems arriving at an accurate total. If there are any questions, feel free to send me a PM and ask them. I am here to help all those still confused about voting in the US.

7. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member 385 posts) 7y

In my neighborhood in Philadelphia, I vote only two blocks away. I took the dog for a walk the long way around the block and tied him out front of the local community center where I voted. There are always a couple of people standing outside pushing their candidates before you walk in. Sometimes they will hand you out information on their candidates or position on a referendum. Then I go into the gym, where there are two booths on either side. No line. I go up to the poll worker, who incidentally sits outside in front of her house all spring, summer, fall and makes you move your car if she thinks you have left too much room between your car and the next. Somehow, she seems to have no recollection of berating me and asks my name looking me up in a big book. We find my name and signature and then I sign beside it. I have never been asked for ID at this polling station, but used to have to provide my voter registration card at my old one. Then I got into a big booth with curtains that is held together with velcro. There is a big plastic covered piece of paper (think large posterboard) with flashing red dots beside the different offices I am voting for. Once I push the candidate I want, the dot turns to a solid color beside their name. After voting for the candidates, I vote on the referendums. This year we had three. One was to improve water quality in Philly, another to merge the Parks & Recreation Depts. and a third asking for more money. Then when I am all done, I push a big green button at the bottom that says "vote". And that's it! Small chat with the workers, say goodbye and in and out in under 5 minutes! (Apparently there were places in Philly where people waited up to 6 hours to vote.) Outside, Major is waiting patiently for me to collect him. He's been a perfect gentleman. Then its off to home and off to work!

The first time I voted, at 18, they had the old lever system. Don't ask my how, but it was really confusing and I panicked and just pulled the lever for the party. After that, my old polling station switched to the paper ballets that Gretchen explained earlier. You can vote for your party and leave it at that. Or you can choose your candidates a la carte, from all of the parties present. If you don't like what you see, you can write in any name you'd like. This year's election was a pretty easy one, as there weren't too many local positions up for grabs. That will happen in two more years when we get to choose city positions like traffic judge or something like that. City voting seems to have a lot more things to choose than when I used to vote in Central PA.

So that's it! I'm thinking next time, I'll see if I can take Major into the booth along with me!

8. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 7y

This may be of help in understanding the type of voting ballot that both Holly and we used on Tuesday. It is a sample ballot from Stephenson County, Illinois and the one the nice officials handed us. In some districts/precincts their ballots allow you to vote "straight party". The Travis County (Texas) sample ballot has such an option. If you vote by party, you fill in that one little section and nothing more. If you fill out that section then continue filling out the rest of the ballot (even if you choose all the same party for the rest of the choices - say all Democrat and your party is Democrat), that ballot becomes void. Again, that all depends on the rules/regulations of the state/county/precinct.

Now, one thing that really confuses most people, including Americans, is the Electoral College. We (the lowly citizens) ultimately do not vote for a president/vice president during the election. We cast our vote for the EC electors to consider then they cast their vote for president and vice president. Each state has X number of electors. This number is equal to the number of US Senators and Representatives each state has in Congress. (Illinois has 21 electors = 2 senators & 19 representatives. Obama was one of our senators so now the Governor gets to choose his replacement.) Anyway, electors can not be publicly-elected officials and are usually people who have had long affiliations with their particular party. Come election day, as the popular votes roll in, each elector will cast their vote for president and vice president. States have their own laws on how electors can vote but most go with a "pledge" system. The elector pledges to vote for the party they represent and follow the lead of the popular vote. It doesn't always work that way (2000 election for example) but generally. Right now, 2 states are still too close to call so their electoral votes have not been cast. It doesn't really matter as the winner has to have at least 270 votes and Obama has 349 - clearly the winner.

9. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 7y

I also forgot to mention...
You may have heard newscasters and others mention the term GOP. This term refers to the Republican Party and stands for "Grand Old Party" (originally known as the "Gallant Old Party"). Abraham Lincoln was our first Republican president and because Republicans dominated Congress at the time, they were considered the party that won the Civil War - thus leading the US into more modern times. The acronym is stilled used interchangeably with Republican Party though, again, most Americans don't know what the letters stand for anymore.

10. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 7y

Gretchen,
The reason so many of our younger citizens don't know what GOP stands for is our education system. Kids are graduatng from HS and cannot fill out an employment form correctly. This is a generalization, but at least 70 % of HS graduates need 'bonehead English' before they can take English 101. They are very good at 'teenspeak'. "It was like, so hot out yesterday." "I was so not happy with her!" "I went to, you know, the store and the prices were like, expensive!." You get the idea. A bunch of functionally illiterate teenagers.

I am going to blame TV, cell phones and the Internet for most of the problems with educating our kids. They don't memorize anything because they can google it and find the answer quickly. So they claim. Combine that problem with text messaging and you get lazy students that cannot spell. Everything has been reduced to shorthand to speed up your text messaging prowess. Spend hours text messaging, e-mail friends using text shortcuts and then veg out in front of the TV and you have ignorant dolts on the way to adulthood. I am going to exclude the top 10% of our HS grads, they are doing well. It is the next 90% that are not impressing employers with their job skills. Anybody that has worked directly with the public knows how uncommon 'common sense' is.

Now, I am finished with my rant and will head off to watch 'Aviation Nation'. The Thunderbirds are flying out at Nellis Air Force Base today. FREE! to one and all. Nice day for it. Blue skies and low 70s today. Shorts and t-shirts in Nov. Can't beat that. I am lucky to be in Vegas. Well, except for the summer. Then it is too HOT! But, as we like to say, "it is a dry heat." Well, so are the gates of Hell, but it is still HOT!