Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Election Day

It was our first election today since we were sworn in as British citizens and became eligible to register to vote. I have such fond memories of voting as a child. Voting machines were exciting and a treat—like going to the video arcade—because they made great noises and you could fiddle with knobs. I loved going to vote with my folks. When I was small I was allowed into the voting machine with them. You have to pull this enormous lever that requires a lot of strength—the kind you see on Dr Who these days that people have to strain to move during ensuing chaos because they have to close the portal or rip a hole in time—you pull the giant lever and KE-CHUNK! The drab coloured industrial strength fabric curtains magically close behind you with a dramatic swish. All people can see are your legs—it was like being a magician’s assistant and getting sawn in half—you weren’t really sawn in half it just looked like it to the audience. Then you get to flick the tiny levers beside the candidates or amendments you are voting for (or un-flick if you changed your mind) then when you are sure you have done the right thing, pull the magic lever again and ZING! The curtains magically fly open, the top half of your body is reunited with the lower half and your vote is registered. It was so much fun. I recall being allowed to pull down the levers as my mum pointed to them reminding me not to say out loud what we were voting for as it was nobody’s business but ours. I even recall once a family hike to the Pop Holland Scout Hut to vote followed by a picnic lunch then a hike home. Good times.

Well Spiderman and I went to vote first thing this morning at 7:00am when the polling station opened. I think we were their first customers. But listen to this—there were no big machines. We were given 2 paper ballots and told to stand in a cubby hole and put a big cross (X) in pencil by the ones you wanted, then fold up the paper and put it in a box with a slit in the top. Someone would then count all the paper votes later in the day and give the results. My Pilates teacher said her daughter’s high school was helping count the votes. Is that funny or what? It was so lo-tech and old fashioned. Like voting for prom Queen. But this is how they do it here.

I never thought I’d say this being someone who is noticeably technologically disinterested but I miss the machines. I liked the KE-CHUNK and the boring curtains and the joy of flicking the levers. How strange is that?  


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  2. sorry, chickadee, no more KE-CHUNK in Louisiana. the voting machines are now touchscreen computers and there is a big button to push at the bottom when you are done. The curtains still fly open and closed, but I can't remember exactly how that is accomplished, probably by that big button you push at the end. It looks like the big red button in the Staples ads.

    ohhhhhhhhhhhhh the wonderful family hike, picnic, and vote at Pop Holland's Scout Hut!!! That was my favorite voting place ever......when they rezoned us, it was never the same. Love the sound of that name, always wish I'd have known old Pop Holland, etc.

    sigh, big smile, great memories of our triangle family. xxxxooooo, Mum