That Little Sticker

As you know, in the United States, today is Election Day.  But what you might not know is that my sister Michelle is a history major.  As such, any and every opportunity that arises that allows her the forum to speak about something historical, political, or governmental, causes her to jump for joy and shout it from the rooftops.

I, personally, am not that interested.  Perhaps because my granddaddy used to make me sit through hours upon hours of presidential debates, rallies, and caucuses when I was a child, I find it all a bit boring.  When it comes to voting, I really don’t think my vote matters that much because of the whole electoral vote versus the popular vote, etc.

However, despite not feeling that my vote makes a difference, I DO vote.  Mainly, I vote because I feel that it would be hypocritical for me to complain about anything my government is doing if I didn’t cast my ballot for who I wanted running the show whether or not it really counts.  That is a huge pet peeve of mine when people complain loudly and frequently about the government yet they do nothing to try to make a difference, even if they do feel it’s a dog and pony show.

But a couple of things I don’t like about the actual act of voting are as follows:  I don’t understand why they give out those “I Voted” stickers.  I think the reason might be to encourage others to participate, but frankly, if they were people who weren’t inclined to vote in the first place, then they probably aren’t registered and as such, have no time on the day of the election to get signed up to do so.  Furthermore, if they’re among those that simply “don’t vote” then I don’t see how my wearing a little piece of paper glued to my shirt will change their mind.

The other thing I don’t like is when you have a small child, they won’t allow the child in the booth with you.  I understand the “right to privacy” and all that, but I’d rather carry my infant with me than to leave them in the voting lobby with strangers.  I don’t think a two-year old is going to influence my vote, nor do I think they will read my ballot and broadcast my selections to the world.

Another thing I don’t like is when there are things on the ballot such as “Should Carl P. Dinkmeyer retain his job as Judge?”  It doesn’t give me the choice between Mr. Dinkmeyer and someone else, but rather just asks if he should stay in office.  Personally, I don’t want that kind of responsibility.  I mean, I usually vote YES because I don’t want to be the reason someone is unemployed and not able to support their family.  However, what if the person is a slime ball?  Then I’m enabling them to stay in a position where they can influence other lives.

Additionally, I don’t like where there are always some new laws or amendments on the back page that are worded in such a way that you can’t understand if you’re actually voting for or against them.  Keep in mind, I was a senior paralegal for fourteen years, and I read and wrote legal language every day, yet some of these are difficult for even me to grasp.

Finally, I don’t like when there is a blank where you can write in your own nominee.  I mean, I actually do use that line sometimes and write in “Jon Bon Jovi” when I don’t care for the other choices, but come on!  It’s not like anyone is really going to get elected off a write-in vote, so I think it’s kind of silly that they add it.

Time to talk:  Do you vote?  Do you wear the “I Voted” sticker?  Do you ever forget about the sticker and wash your clothes with it on then regret it later when there’s a big glue spot on your shirt?  Do you research everyone on the ballot before you vote?  Do you ever vote to keep someone out of office rather than voting to get someone in? 

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36 thoughts on “That Little Sticker

  1. I have a lot to say on this, so I apologize for the length of this comment, but here goes:

    First, to Ali Isaac’s comment above: We do not live in North Korea or China. Results are not pre-determined behind closed doors. I’m actually appalled you believe that. We have so many levels of checks and balances in our government that it is ludicrous to believe that the government itself selects our representatives. That’s not to say the system isn’t imperfect. It is flawed beyond belief. Who gets elected has a lot to do with whether you are supported by a major party, how much money you and your party have to throw at a campaign and the national feeling of a particular party at the time of election. Would an Independent candidate ever get elected if the Republicans and Democrats were pre-determining elections? Probably not. And since it is almost impossible to get R’s and D’s to agree on anything, I don’t think they’re capable of pre-determining elections. That’s not to say I trust the government implicitly. I am not naive. I don’t trust most candidates farther than I can throw them, and since I struggle to pick up a toddler, that should give you an idea. But I’d rather be part of the process than just be a nay-sayer.

    Stickers: Unfortunately, washing a sticker (any sticker) is a common occurrence in my house. So yeah, I expect sticky gunk on my shirt. Yuck. But I’ll wear that sticker anyway. That sticker means a lot to me. There are so many places in this world were people don’t have the right to vote, or the candidates are pre-determined or women can’t vote, that I will never take for granted the opportunity I have. Maybe I’m not happy with my government, or the candidates I have to choose from, but if I don’t like it, I need to do something about it. Campaign for candidates I believe in, vote in primaries, or run myself. No, I have done none of those things, therefore I won’t complain (too much) about who is running. But I will vote. And wear the sticker. It’s not only a symbol of what we have in this country, but also a way to encourage others. It can act as a reminder for a person with a busy schedule. How many people have said, “I would have voted, but I totally forgot because I was so busy.” And even if it doesn’t encourage someone to go out and register that day, just seeing their friends, family and peers proudly displaying the evidence of their ability to make a difference in this country may propel them to register and vote in the future. If we behave like voting in this country matters, more people will believe it does, and the more people who vote means the more it will matter.

    I’m surprised they don’t let you take your child in with you. I have always taken my children to vote. I live in a small town in Michigan, so maybe the state and the rural location makes the difference, but I use it as a learning experience.

    I don’t care about causing someone to lose their job. that may sound callous, but it’s more about the right person for the job. If I know nothing about them, I probably won’t vote on that one. But if I know they aren’t doing their job, well, sorry, but they may have to look for other employment.

    The wording of laws, etc. are ridiculous. I either educate myself prior to, or make my best judgement. They word them in such a way to garner the support they want. Just goes back to not trusting politicians. But if we don’t educate ourselves, it’s our own fault for being fooled.

    As to the blank line: Here is a link to a Wikipedia page talking about the short list of successful candidates that were write ins: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Write-in_candidate. I love that little line, though I’ve never used it. It allows us just another way to express our thoughts and opinions. Plenty of people have run campaigns with a write in premise. They may not have won, but it is a way for the voter to show their dissatisfaction with the status quo. I don’t find it annoying. I find it liberating. Not only do we get to vote for the candidates who have registered to be on the ballot, but we also have the right to select a candidate that isn’t on the ballot. I will never complain about something that gives me more power as a voter.

    Basically, I’m not always satisfied with candidates, or government or the decisions they make, but I will never willingly give up my right to affect change where I can. Your vote does matter. Maybe not as much as you would like, but it does matter. I live in an area that leans very heavily in one political direction, while I lean in the other direction. I vote anyway, even though it is likely my candidate will not win. We Americans have so much freedom, so many rights, and are so lucky for all we have, that I will never shirk my duty to my country by claiming my vote doesn’t matter or by not voting.

    • Jennifer, you gave me the BEST ANSWER EVER on the sticker! Seriously. And because of you, I actually wore mine yesterday instead of tossing it afterward. Thank you so much for taking the time to express your feelings on this matter. 😀

      On the other hand, keep in mind that I live in Florida, so sometimes when I feel like my vote doesn’t count, it’s because my vote really wasn’t counted. LOL! (I’m just kidding, of course, but sometimes it is embarrassing that we are always the joke of the country when it comes to voting.)

      • Ah, yes, Florida. Well, at least this year the focus was on the heated gubernatorial race and not any voting mishaps! I still can’t believe they won’t let you take a child in with you. We’re a small town but all of my kids have voted with me.

      • That’s true. But we still had national attention called to us from the various parties that our former governor, Charlie Crist, ran under. When I was little, I couldn’t go in the booth with my Grandma, and when my kids were little, they were never allowed in with me. And it always made me uncomfortable to just leave them in the lobby with the women that check us in.

  2. Speaking from a UK perspective, there’s a lot of cynicism about politics here and the voting levels in many elections are worryingly low. The General Elections (main parliamentary elections, every five years) are still pretty well supported, but even then quite a lot of people don’t bother. I think that’s a bad thing. As with the US, the UK system isn’t perfect, but some say in how we are governed is still a helluva lot better than the zero (or close to zero) choice many other parts of the world have. I’ve never seen ‘I voted’ stickers here and I’m not sure I’d wear one, but I sympathise with the sentiment.

  3. I vote to keep my right to vote intact, Rachel. I agree that wording the proposals in favor of the manner in which the ruling party wants the decision to go is underhanded. And I like the idea of keeping the write-in line available. It doesn’t matter if said candidates don’t win. A healthy percentage to the write-in tells the winner that the voting populace is starting the serving term with a feeling of unrest toward their views.

    • THAT is a perfect reason to vote, Mark! 🙂 When I voted last night, we had 5 issues on the back… and only one of them was worded “For this change” and “Against this change.” The rest were something like “Here’s the proposal… Vote YES if yes, you’d like things to stay the same of NO if no, you want things different.” They made no sense! LOL!

  4. I vote because I agree with you, if I don’t I can’t complain. Sadly, I never get the sticker! I can remember voting for the first time, being all excited and thinking that when I walked out everyone would applaud and an older woman with a big smile would walk up to me and present this amazing “I Voted” sticker. That didn’t happen. But in a way, I wish it would. As cheesy as it sounds, reward me for watching you search for my name in the MA even though I told you twice to look under MU.
    I try to always pick SOMEONE instead of write-ins even though I am very tempted.
    I wish I researched more but when all else fails, I vote for the name I recognize which is usually the person who harassed me through telephone calls and interruptions to my nightly television.

  5. cool…. 🙂 for the first time ever… i voted… in 2014…. fortunately here in the U.K. the ‘Green’ Party has finally become a viable vote.
    Caroline Lucas M.P., what a woman 🙂

  6. Yes. Yes. No. Yes. Yes.

    I used to be the director of a social-service agency, and we were required to ask our clients if they wanted to register to vote, and to give them the form, if they did. I was appalled by the number of people who proudly said, “I’ve never voted, and I never will. That way, nobody can blame me!”

    I vote, so I get to complain, and I usually do, to the people who are representing me, whether or not I voted for them. When I was living overseas, I always voted absentee. Now, as a disabled person, I get to vote absentee, too.

    Write-ins don’t always get counted. Depending on the jurisdiction, they may need to be registered candidates, even though they don’t have their name on the ballot.

    It’s usually easy to find out about a judge’s record. Other candidates may be harder to track down, but these days, almost everybody’s online, so Google’em, by golly.

    I’ve lived and voted in many different states, including Florida, but I never noticed any prohibition of infants. What aggravated me was living in a North Carolina county where the practice at the polling place was for the poll worker to bellow your party affiliation, in a menacing roar, when she gave you your ballot for a primary election.

    All things considered, I think we have a pretty good system. It’s like our constitution: I carry a copy of it in my purse, and the little book includes the Amendments and the Declaration of Independence, too. All three documents take up only fifty 3.5 X 5-inch pages, and the print is big enough for me to read without my glasses.

    • That’s really cool that you carry the Constitution. 🙂 I bet you’re one in a million with that among other cool things as well. 🙂

      You never had them make you leave your kids outside? When I was little, my Grandma couldn’t take me in, and when my kids were small, they weren’t allowed to come in. (And these were all different districts, too.) That’s weird.

      I can’t believe the number of people who are actually proud to have never voted! Yesterday, we had the “legalize medical marijuana” question on our ballot, and I’m saddened that a lot of people only voted this one time because of that (and I don’t think they did it for medical reasons either).

  7. I’ve never received an “I Voted” sticker, but I always vote. I didn’t even know there was such a thing until a few years ago. I guess they don’t do that it my area of South Jersey. When my children were little I did take them in the voting booth with me. They’re grown now, so I don’t know if that’s changed or not, but it was never a problem. I haven’t seen a question about whether someone should retain his/her job–only whether someone should be elected or re-elected or not. I like that there is a write-in option. No, it’s not likely that someone will get elected that way, but it is possible, and it has probably happened in small town elections.

    • No sticker? That’s madness! LOL! Years ago, they were always the same, but in recent years, they’ve changed a little in each election. Yesterday, we had four questions about people retaining their office. Two were judges and one was someone in the state treasury and the other was the state department of agriculture. But I’ve seen them before where it was actually the local head of the department of sanitation! (Yes, I want my garbageman to keep his job.)

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