Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Election Day

Today I discovered that there is nothing like a presidential election to take one's mind off those otherwise burning questions- you know, like, am I pregnant? Are my boobs looking bigger or am I just getting chubby from eating too many bowls of ice cream while I sit on my blogging ass? If I am not pregnant, where the fuck is Waldough ? And should I go pee on something for good measure?

Happily, all those thoughts have been wiped clean out of my tiny mind by the never ending media onslaught that is the Race to the White House 2004.

You'd think that the election was taking place in Britain, since the news coverage is so intense, and everybody here is taking such an interest. I think it would be fair to say that folks are fairly riveted. People were stopping by my desk all day to talk about it- had I voted? How did that work? Who did I vote for? What would I do if Bush won? (I never know how to answer that one- I mean, I can't very well say "leave the country", cause, um, I kind of already did that.) Colleagues at work actually stopped talking about babies and their children for at least five minutes to discuss world politics instead! It was very exciting!

I think the thing is, people recognise that the results of today's election will have a long term and significant impact on Britain. After all, the Americans are not just electing a president, they are choosing Tony Blair's new best friend.

The time difference is proving something of a pain in the ass though. I have an early meeting tomorrow morning, which rules out any ideas of staying up til the wee small hours to see a glimpse of which way the cookie is crumbling, or the final result . That is of course, if the wolf packs of lawyers can be kept under control.

I also have to laugh as I witness what is being presented as something of an immense hoo-ha over the new automated balloting machine thingies. There's no paper trail! Gah! The screen went blank! The memory card failed as we were moving it! Pass the provisional ballot! Call the lawyer!

I mentally compare it to the process here. When I vote in Britain, I go to my assigned polling station, and walk straight in, and the nice lady sitting at the collapsible card table on the folding chair ticks my name off on a long list. Then she hands a slip of paper and a stubby pencil. Yes, that's right, a stubby pencil. I kid you not.

I make a big X next to whoever I want to win, fold the slip in half, stick it in the wooden box, and away I go. Later on, the slips are all counted through the night by hand by people sitting at a big long table in the various districts throughout the country. For big elections, a news presenter called Peter Snow follows the results with statistical analysis in the form of the famous Swing-o-meter. I saw him on Newsnight or whatever that programme was last night doing something similar with a gigantic graphic of the United States, which cheered me up no end.

I love voting here, it's really sweet, a little eccentric and rather charming. It no doubt lacks most of the hype and frenzy, and of course, anything like the scale or import of voting in the USA. And to be honest that is all quite refreshing. Though right at this particular moment in my cycle, the distraction of events over the water is very welcome indeed.


At 10:11 PM, Blogger lobster girl said...

Pencil stubs! Awww, that's sweet.

I know what you mean. For perhaps the only day in the last, I don't know, million days, I am not thinking about babies. I am too distracted by the election. No, that's not the right word. Too horrified! Scared! Anxious! So much hangs on this election, I can hardly stand it.

If there is any justice in this world (and we all know that's debatable), we will have a new president soon.

At 12:11 AM, Blogger Toni said...

Come on woman...I know that you're interested in politics...but I am interested in why Waldough isn't here. PEE ON THAT DAMN STICK!!! You're killing me!

At 12:21 AM, Blogger Sheri said...

Amen for distractions!
I'm actually quite stressed about this election - so much hangs on the result. Still, it is nice to have stress from something other then fertility, or the lack thereof.

At 9:01 AM, Blogger ankaisa said...

Yes, a lot is riding on this election. And it is not going too well right now! But there's still hope (that bitch).

And voting here is pretty similar : people sitting at a long table, first one checking your name on the list, the next one giving you a slip, going into the booth and writing the number of the candidate you are voting for. Return to the table for a stamp and drop your slip in the box. I kinda prefer that method!

At 10:37 PM, Blogger Tiff said...

Yesterday I welcomed the distraction.
Today...not so much.
Today, I need a distraction from the distraction.

At 1:48 PM, Blogger Soper said...

Is there room in Scotland for Soper, D, and all her pets? Don't know if I can do this anymore....

Bush sucks.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger akeeyu said...

I started voting in New Mexico, where they had voting machines with nice big curtains, and practically no lines, and nobody worried about it.

Then I started voting in California, where they handed me an antiquated cardboard card and an overused Sharpie marker, and I said "Um. Seriously? Where are the machines?" and they said "Oh, this is much better."

Now I'm stuck in Washington, and got to wait in line to use one of those touchscreen things with no privacy whatsoever. It seemed to work fine, with the exception of the presidential category. Everything else, I touched it, and a little 'check' popped up. When I touched 'Kerry'...nothing. So I touched it again. Nothing. Gave it a good jab. Nothing. Poked that screen hard. It sighed, muttered "Oh, very well," and 'check' popped up.

It was a little unnerving.


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