Imagine looking forward to voting like you would a date on Saturday night. Imagine going to a party where everyone gets to cast their ballots together. This is how they do it in Australia. Meanwhile in the U.S.– with more at stake than ever this year — people are waiting eagerly for their ballots to arrive. To those who have to stand in line for hours, OMG, thank you for your commitment.
One good thing that’s come out of the intense drama of this dismal year: voting is back on the map, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. In my wildest dreams I never imagined that voting would be the highlight of my week, of my month, really. Last week I drove downtown to the courthouse. As I sat and watched the steady stream of people heading for the dropbox, I felt for the very first time that my vote really DID matter. And it felt good to be a part of something so important.
In the beginning of my voting life, the numbers blew me away. To think that only 33% of my county at the time even bothered to vote seemed criminal to me. Still does. (Oh, right, there was that year I missed the deadline… which gnawed at me for a very long time.) Frankly, this year I feel like smacking anyone who can’t be bothered!
Why on earth would the government pick Tuesdays for folks to vote THEM out. ha. Mr. Google explained: farmers didn’t want to miss church on Sunday and they had to get back to their crops by Wed. To think that this date has never been changed is crazy. Oh, wait, I forgot. The answer, “We’ve always done it this way!” Tradition trumping reality is such a silly notion. Why should we keep doing something just because we’ve always done it the way. Why would you keep doing something that isn’t working for heaven sakes? New ways surely call for new solutions.
New Solutions to Better Voter Turnout!
Moving us all to mail-in ballots would improve voter turnout, but not guarantee it. I’ve long thought that voting should be compulsory and 22 countries have been do this for years. Vote day in Australia means a Saturday afternoon BBQ at the local school. By making it a community celebration, people welcome voting as their patriotic duty. Shirkers are fined minimally, but the turnout is 90%. 90 PERCENT!!! Wow, in my dreams!
Or we could give voting its own holiday? It’d be more visible, and assigning a special day would mean my own government actually values it, maybe more even than fireworks on the 4th of July. Here’s a fine idea: How about we swap out President’s Day for VOTE day?
I’m lucky. I live in Oregon and we vote by mail. Easy Peasy. Now if only they’d stop intimidating me with the avalanche of fancy language and tiny print in the volume we call the Voter’s
Weeded out this week: COMPLACENCY