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Now I Get It

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

I wish they made it easier. Voting, that is. Declare election day a national holiday. Because for working folk, though we are guaranteed time to leave our places of employment in order to visit the polls, that doesn’t guarantee the worker can get to the poll.

For example, it so happens that I work 12.2 miles from my polling precinct. Because I live 12.2 miles from where I work. [Long story]. The likelihood of getting three kids up, ready, out the door, to the polls, onto the congested SoCal freeway, and on school grounds by 8:15am would require an act of God. So the next best thing would be an act of Congress.

The one easy part of the day was that I was never asked for an identification. Which might explain how people in Chicago are able to vote early and often. I always wondered about that…

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuesday, 2 November 2010 2:06 pm

    In France elections are always held on a Sunday.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 2 November 2010 2:09 pm

      Isn’t that problematic for Christians?

      • Tuesday, 2 November 2010 2:18 pm

        No, not for Roman Catholics (the vast majority) and I have never heard it is a problem for Protestants either.
        Even Evangelicals drive and cook on Sundays. They won’t shop or watch TV but I guess they’d vote.
        I seem to remember there was once a problem with Jews, as there was a holiday, but I am not sure how the issue was solved.

  2. Tuesday, 2 November 2010 2:25 pm

    In Argentina and Uruguay (I think) it is a national holiday AND you can’t buy booze the day before. That way it doesn’t turn into a day of being hungover. Annoying if you are a student studying abroad and didn’t know to stock up.

    I forget what voting is like outside of a densely populated neighborhood in Chicago. I pass 3-4 polling places walking just two blocks from my house to my polling place.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 2 November 2010 4:53 pm

      Wow — but wait…you live in Chicago. Having a lot of polling places must make it easier to vote often.

  3. zemriah permalink
    Tuesday, 2 November 2010 3:34 pm

    In Australia elections are always on a Saturday, but you can always vote early if that’s an issue.

    Just discovered your blog, by the way, and loving it 🙂

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Tuesday, 2 November 2010 4:54 pm

      So Jews have the ability to vote on a non-Shabbos day? Nice.

      Glad you found your way here. And took the time to comment. Come back anytime!

  4. Debbie Garcia permalink
    Tuesday, 2 November 2010 4:59 pm

    I would love a Sunday voting day. Working at schools that also serve as voting sites is problematic for students, parents and staff. Parking is horrendous and I always feel uneasy with so many “strangers” on campus. Schools do not have a choice-the Registrar chooses the sites-we are unable to decline.
    On another note, you can vote anywhere-you just ask for a provisional ballot. I voted at one of my schools, and live 17 miles away in another city. One convenience in a very inconvenienced day!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 3 November 2010 11:31 am

      I always thought it was odd to have strangers milling about a school. And I worked at a synagogue early in my career that was a polling place and security was a real concernt.

      Never thought to ask for a provisional ballot…

  5. Annette Fried permalink
    Tuesday, 2 November 2010 6:52 pm

    All voting in Oregon is via US mail or into an offical ballot drop box. Signature on outer envelope is checked and then the sealed inner envelope awaits tallying on election day. It saves lots of expenses!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 3 November 2010 4:20 pm

      Interesting. I didn’t know that Oregon had that approach.

  6. Tuesday, 2 November 2010 9:00 pm

    I love to vote. I don’t have to show ID at my polling place but I have to sign and demonstrate that my signature matches the one on file. I don’t know what happens if you try to register on the day of voting – haven’t done that since college….

    I’m so in love with voting that on my 18th birthday, which is nowhere near an election date, I marched into Village Hall and registered to vote.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 3 November 2010 4:21 pm

      Me too!!!

      Wait, you can register on the day of voting?? Oh, right…you live in Chicago too…

  7. Wednesday, 3 November 2010 6:45 am

    Well, you can always vote absentee, if you remember to get the ballot in time. In my case, it would mean I would get to find out everyone who is running ahead of time.

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 3 November 2010 4:23 pm

      The problem is that sometimes things can happen to change one’s opinion close to the election and if you did things ahead of time — oh well, too late. So there is actually an advantage to waiting…

  8. Wednesday, 3 November 2010 9:09 am

    In California, if you choose to vote absentee, it’s permitted to turn in your ballot at any polling place in the state on the day of the election. Now that’s pretty convenient!

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 3 November 2010 4:23 pm

      And then you still get your sticker 😉

  9. Former Reform Jew permalink
    Wednesday, 3 November 2010 9:54 am

    In Australia, all citizens are REQUIRED to vote. In the most recent election, in the large observant Jewish neighborhoods of Melbourne, there were special voting booths open on Friday, since the rest of the populace votes on Saturday.

    In Israel, election day is a national holiday.

    In America, many larger states with larger urban populations keep their polling places open for several hours after the end of the average work day – California until 8pm, New York until 9pm – so voting before OR after work is an option.

    Why is living 12.2 miles from work a “long” story? That’s not even a long commute! :o)

    • Frume Sarah permalink*
      Wednesday, 3 November 2010 4:26 pm

      The long story is why do I live 12.2 miles from the shul, the kids’ school, doctors, bank, hair salon, etc.

      And 12.2 miles can take anywhere from 30-70 minutes in the morning. Which IS a long commute. So there isn’t enough time to vote before I take the kids to school and I work until the polls close.

      I’m just saying that a national holiday would make it that much easier for working parents.

  10. Elisa permalink
    Wednesday, 3 November 2010 11:16 am

    I was just talking about this with someone at work. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if the voting booths came to you – like at work! Why can’t we just vote online? Are we in the 21st century or what?

  11. Jockbro permalink
    Wednesday, 3 November 2010 12:16 pm

    There was an interesting study done by a professor in Spain that demonstrates voter turnout is, in part, driven by social pressure. That is, much like with the chagim, people show up to be seen. In Switzerland, when voters had the option to vote online, voter turnout went DOWN! When you no longer need to be seen the pressure to vote goes away. So maybe the lesson is standing in line for an hour (as we did) just to spend two minutes in a booth is proof that voting is important to us.

  12. Former Reform Jew permalink
    Wednesday, 3 November 2010 12:19 pm

    Elisa, I agree with the article linked above. Due to the combined potential of fraud and error, voting is best kept low-tech.

    I don’t even like the touchscreen voting machines used in many locales these days. As ridiculous as “hanging chads” were a decade ago, at least the election auditors had an actual piece of paper in front of them. A hard drive can never go back and show what the voter meant to do.

    So yes, even though we won’t know who the next senator from Alaska is for awhile (it all depends on the penmanship of those who voted for Lisa Murkowski) – that is still preferable to a computer hiccup delivering us an unelected lawmaker.

  13. Wednesday, 3 November 2010 3:04 pm

    42% voter turnout. Pathetic.


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