Today I voted for the first time in our new precinct (is that the correct term?), and all I have to say is that "we are not in Kansas anymore". I was first surprised by the long line when we pulled in and the plethura of cars. What I was also surprised with was the lack of campaign signs and the lack of campaign people on sight, urging you to vote for their candidate. There were eight, count them, eight! voting machines which were completely digital. I did love them, however.
Back in "Kansas", our former small town (which is only about 15 min from our new house), the voting was done at the borough hall aka public swimming pool and park with small office attached. There were a whole crew of "old dutchies" (PA Dutch = German) senior citizens running the joint, complete which crockpots of chicken pot pie and baskets of candy. The same ones worked the hall year after year and would tease the kids and make silly jokes when we came in the door...because the line was NEVER out the door. There were usually, oh, say 4.7 people in front of you. The 2 polling booths were exactly that, booths with curtains and buttons and levers...very reminscent of the 1970's with brown accents on the curtain. They often only used one of the machines, and saved the other for the "busy" times. I thought that was normal until today.
This whole weekend has been a new voting experience for me. From 4 non-recorded phone calls from the Obama campaign informing me of where and when to vote, to the doorhanger on my door and cards left on my car while I was shopping, I have just felt, well, sort of, irritated and over taxed by all this campaigning nonsense. Will calling voters over and over again really make them want to vote for you? It was just downright annoying, not to mention the fact that I had no intention of voting for their candidate and I knew perfectly well where and when to vote.
There was a total lack of signage and people at the voting venue. In our old town, there were usually several people at the doors, giving you fliers, and more often, candy with their campaign logo and cheap pens that didn't write. You could shake the hand of the local yocal who was running for the school board and have a little how-do with them. Not in the "big city". There are rules against such things. "There are no signs allowed on the property. There are no campaign personnel allowed within 10 feet of the building." A lady in line next to me told me that there was talk to ban people from wearing anything pertaining to a particular candidate.
Is this the end of civilized elections? The ridiculous campaigning and millions of dollars spent, do they really make a difference? This election, I felt more like a number than an actual person. Will an election ever be a little crockpot-type deal where we cast our ballots, eat a tootsie roll, and smile at each other?
It was a very disheartening experience, which made me long for my small town of aging Democrat Dutchies. There were just as liberal in our small town, but there was more respect between people. Today it seemed like the principal had to make all these rules because the school children couldn't play nice. I was surprised by it all. It was sad.