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Episode 66: Election Stories Contest

By sconway - Posted on 03 November 2008

We're changing things up this time. Post your best election-related stories here. We'll look over the entries here (and ones we receive via email) and select one lucky person to get a set of custom Spiel dice!

Steerpike's picture

I am the Anti-Ohio

That is to say that, in every general election since I've been putting my X on the ballot paper, I have consistently cast my vote for the losing party.

Really, not once since I've been old enough to exercise my democratic right, has my choice of Prime Minister been respected by the process.

Talk about feeling under represented.

A vote from Steerpike seems to be the kiss of death.

J Moody's picture

Ok, so I always forget which precinct I am in. In the past it has meant that I usually wait in the longer line (my polling places have all had multiple precincts) for a while before I figure it out. This year was worse than normal.

First of all, the polling place moved, so I didn't have past experience to guide me into the correct line. I stood in the only line I saw, which was well out the door. 15 minutes or so passed, and a poll worker came and posted the precinct map on the outside door, so I stepped out of line to take a look. I thought my choices were A and B, and even though I didn't see my street on the obscure map (why they can't just use a normal street map I don't know), I knew I wasn't in the A region, so I switched to the (much smaller) B line. 5 minutes in that line and I was next to the door that the other line was entering. Much to my chagrin, it was C, not A.  Seeing that, I stepped up to the infinitely more legible inside map, and there indeed – smack in the middle of C, was my area. At this point (5 minutes had passed), I didn’t feel comfortable going back to my old spot in the C line, and the rest of the line had gotten much longer, so I cut my losses and decided to come back later.
The big question then was when to come back? I’ll return at 11:00, and beat the lunchtime rush! However, if enough people want to beat the lunchtime rush, 11:00 will be busy. Others will obviously also contemplate this fact, so 11:00 will indeed be the time to try again. How did it turn out? I waited an hour at 11:00, and when I left at 12:00 the line was less than half of what it was at 11:00, so obviously everyone else had the same triple think as me. It’s like when you wait for a half an hour in line at the store and no one ever shows up behind you.
Anyway, I voted, which is the important thing. Next time I will remember my precinct (I always say that).
Steerpike's picture

wow, I didn't realise it could be so confusing. Is that to put people off voting ?

Do the registered Democrats have to stand in one long line while the registered Republicans get two or three shorter and more easily accessible lines ? :-)

The "Do I arrive at 11:00 to beat the queues or will everyone do that?" connundrum sounds like it could be a good mechanic for a boardgame. It's a bit like in Incan Gold when an artifact comes out; do I leave the mine now and try to snag it or will everyone do the same and therefore none of us will get it ?

xofour's picture

I miss that so much.   I live in Oregon, and we are completely vote by mail.  Which gets fun for the local Radio political talk hosts to discuss all the potential for voter fraud.  But truthfully, I really miss going to the poling place.  I miss standing in line.  I miss getting my name checked off.  I miss getting my little sticker saying "I voted".  I miss feeling like a part of a process.  Sure I fill out my balot & drive it down and drop it off as if I were voting.  But it's really not the same thing at all.  <sigh>

Musti's picture


A personal story about voting would go about the yearly elections for a student-body at the university I attended.

Here in Belgium (and probably at other places too) every year a new student body is elected. This group of enthousiastic students will take care of all the needs of the students in the oncoming year. This ranges from printing of school books over the yearly gala-diner to the obligatory parties. The election itself is on a Wednesday and all candidate-groups can start campaigning from Sunday evening.

One year; I have been campaign-responsible for one of two groups that could be elected. There was a fierce competition between both parties which ran down to a battle between young and new ideas and older, more experienced candidates. The campaign literally went on non-stop from Sunday evening to Wednesday afternoon with free beer, stunts, performances and what else not. We even went as far as promoting our group on national radio in a popular request-radio show.

The election ended with a difference of 6 votes on a total of 1200 in our favor. Despite the very limited impact this had on world history, I don't think I was ever as nervous for any election.

Steerpike's picture

I didn't think about stories from my University years - and, thus, forgot about the time my Halls of Residence voted for an armchair as the President of the Student's Union.

We were all so tired of the internal union politics, and the pompous candidates, that we had put the armchair up for election as a joke. We didn't expect it to win, especially after its poor performance in the hustings (it did not answer any questions, it just stood there in comfortable silence). It was most amusing when it won by a landslide.

Never underestimate the power of the protest vote or the alure of a warm cup of cocoa in your favourite armchair by the fire.

I have a picture of it somewhere - I ought to dig it out.

[ In the UK we have the notion of a 'blue hat-stand' candidate. that is to say that in some electoral constituencies people are so primed to vote for their party, regardless of candidate, that you could put a rosette on a hat-stand and it would still win. We often wondered what would happen if the armchair had been forced into a run off with a hat-stand.]



... when they talk about the seat of power...

Steerpike's picture

In the book Asterix in Corsica we are introduced to the way elections were held in ancient Corsica (circa 50BC)

Carferrix: "We were just about to hold elections for a new chief. The ballot boxes are already full"

Asterix: "You mean the ballot boxes are already full before the elections are held?"

Chief Boneywasawarriorwayayix: "Yes, but we throw them into the sea without opening them, and the strongest man wins. It's an old Corsican custom"

scooterb23's picture

The year was 1980.  I was 5 years old, living in Muncie, Indiana.  And the parents decided to bring me along when they decided to go vote.  Their mistake.

I don't remember a lot of the details of the day.  I do remember we stood in line for what seemed like an eternity (probably 10 minutes).  Lines then weren't like lines today.  I wonder what has changed so dramatically, you never saw or heard of 4-5 hour waits to vote back then. 

I remember getting antsy, and that one of the election workers came over to talk to me, since I was past the point of listening to my parents.  And knowing myself at the time, that probably meant I was running in circles singing the chorus to "The Gambler" over and over (even at a young age, I knew when to hold 'em AND when to fold 'em).  I know, I wasn't a normal kid.  The election worker bent down, said something to the effect of "How are you today little boy?"  And I looked up and said (Loudly) "I'm going to vote for Reagan!" 

I remember people laughing a little and smiling, and that the election worker told me I was too young to vote.  But I was adamant, I was going to vote for Reagan that day.  So, when my dad went behind the curtain to vote, I followed him in and said  "Hey dad, can I vote for Reagan?"  So he lifted me up, and let me flip the little switch for "Reagan" then he finished the rest of the ballot, and then I got to pull the lever that made the vote official.  I was then quiet for the rest of the day.  Much to everyone's delight, I'm sure.








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