I was the 76th person to vote in my precinct a little while ago. Indiana holds local elections and primaries today, and I had only a few choices to make on my ballot: which candidate to support for the Democratic nomination for mayor, and nominees for seats on the city council. Given the seemingly less-than-urgent nature of this election, I expect turnout to be maybe 10% if we’re lucky.
As always, I don’t understand why people don’t vote. It took maybe 15 minutes out of my day. It’s exciting, in a wonky sort of way. It’s one of the best benefits of living in the great democracy that is the United States. (It’s also a good way to distract yourself if your big, stupid golden retriever has just killed one of the baby robins that was born in a nest above your deck; and that you’ve been watching eat and grow for a couple of weeks; and that you were thrilled to actually see fledge, hurling itself bravely from the nest with the warbled encouragement of its mother, only to land on the ground and be immediately mauled by the big, stupid dog who would not come away or stop no matter how loudly you yelled.)
The most interesting part of voting today was the assortment of goodies I was handed by volunteers outside my polling place. I don’t think they’re allowed to say anything in support of their candidate, because as I walked to the door they approached me, mute and smiling, one at a time, holding out their tokens of electoral regard. Here’s the count:
- 1 bag (useful for holding everything) containing a comb.
- 1 pencil (always useful).
- 1 emery board from a former mayor who’s trying to get reelected.
- 5 emery boards from the current mayor who’s also trying to get reelected (this seems like overkill to me, or compensation, or something).
- 1 business card (booooring; this candidate needs to learn from the others).
- The winner: a bag of Hershey’s kisses from a man running for city council, who owns a jewelry store and thus knows a lot about small metallic objects. The note with the candy reads “A Kiss for Your Vote.” The bag contains 9 kisses, so it’s possible that he’s encouraging vote fraud; but I’m choosing not to worry about it.
If I got all this stuff on the day of some piddly local races, imagine what they’ll be handing out next year during the presidential primary. Heck, I’m figuring Hillary Clinton should be good for at least 50 bucks.