We Voted!

He’s wearing purple. I’m wearing red. We aim to confuse.

We didn’t wait longer than 10 minutes in line. We arrived at Orem Elementary School just before 5:30 this evening.

While we stood in line, we talked pretty loudly about some of the headlines we’d seen throughout the day.

We approached the table and our names were the only two Rs on the last page in the R section of the registered voter binder.

The poll worker gave me an electronic card. The machine I used is very different and so much more . . . modern than the machine I used when I voted in NYC. What was this fancy touchscreen? Why didn’t I have to walk into a booth and close a curtain and use all my brute strength to vote?

I spent maybe at least 5 minutes voting/playing with the fancy machine. I watched the ballot print through a little plastic window. I removed my electronic card in time for a poll worker to check a number on the machine I used. Apparently I was the 47th person today to use that machine.

Reilly waited for me just outside the gym/auditorium/second cafeteria where voted.

We ate. We came home. We took a picture.

We feel pretty good.

On Voting

My very first federal election is coming up. After changing my name and residence for voter registration, I looked up my ballot. There are a lot of names I don’t know. The only political commercials that air on television don’t even apply to my congressional district, and presidential commercials don’t even air around here because not enough Obama voters live here, so I guess Romney’s using the money he saved from Utah to campaign like crazy in other states where Obama has a competing influence. Which I know is Mitt’s biggest concern. I just wonder where he gets and how he keeps his tan.

Anyway, here’s what my ballot looks like. I’m about halfway done researching the list, which sort of helps, but it’s mostly overwhelming. I recognize some of the names from billboards. My votes may just boil down to whether I like the spelling of names or if I can write poems from the anagrams of names or if my favorite letter of the alphabet that day is A. It is no coincidence that the initials of my new married name are the same as Mitt Romney. So, I could vote that way. Also, I like the Yes or No questions for the judges. Nothing about voting in Utah, America is confusing in the least little way.

Governments Abroad

Well, now the results are really in. The return of the bogan chin.

And it leaves me thinking about the stability of democracy versus other election-based governments. All it took was two independents shifting their weight toward one party. And the ruling power could shift at any time during the three-year term.

I don’t know about the other governments, you guys. I don’t intend this to sound negative; I just don’t know.

The Church Is The Same Everywhere

Especially family wards, even down to the cute little deacon ushers.

And the organist who really looks like Ronald Reagan.

Speaking of, election day is this coming Saturday.

According to some folks, the current prime minister here has a bogan chin.

And voting is mandatory here.

And, I volunteered to read a scriptural passage in Sunday School, somewhere in 2 Chronicles, four verses (6-10), and the classroom was dead silent as they listened to my “accent.” It was fun how it made me extremely self-conscious.

I’m slowly getting used to the language here. I’m picking up on some of the colloquialisms, and that’s great. But during the opening prayer in sacrament meeting, I might have only understood “blessings” and “atonement,” and luckily I could interpret it well enough to know when to say “amen.”

Oh, here’s the morning view from the balcony, which my room has access to:

These clouds produced hail right before church, and they caused power outages at some of the members’ homes:

Also, I’m staying in a shire (county) in northwest Sydney called Baulkham Hills.

And, I’ve done the Tim Tam Slam. Pictures of that will follow eventually. Fun and unique. And I’m still full of food from all the Sunday eating.

I woke up at 3:00am. I’m hoping to be able to go back to sleep in the next hour or so.

And no one’s ever around for gchat. It’s not like I’m using time for being a tourist for the internet. And it’s a reasonable time in the afternoon, stateside. So: where are you?

Having fun, exploring, living life, falling in love, making out?

Any and/or all of these, I hope.

Oh yeah, I have a couple of dates this week.

I’ll take all the help I can get; it’s obvious I need it.

Behind the Curtain

What I’ll miss: Voting
I know I’ll get to vote elsewhere, but my very first election experience was in New York City, for NYC officials. That won’t happen anywhere else. I mean, I’m blue (but more purple) and got to vote in a blue state; and maybe I’ll get to vote in a red state, and that would be cool, but I’ll miss those ancient machines and the musty smelling curtains, and the “ka-CHUNK!” when I pull the lever, and the awesomely diverse volunteers; and the possibility of getting an “I Voted!” sticker when I’m done, from a gay, non-Caucasian single mother. With no insurance.

What I won’t miss: Not voting
I didn’t like not being able to vote during such an exciting national election this last time. I guess this doesn’t apply only to New York, but it doesn’t mean I’ll miss it. At all. It could be fun to have people assume I’m another political party, though. Yay, democracy!

Primary Election, NYC Council District 10

So, I voted today. My very first voting experience! It went relatively smoothly. I walked down to my polling place, still in my running clothes, confirmed my district, signed my name below a copy of my signature, waited in line for 10 minutes, stepped behind the curtain, pulled the red lever to the right, marked all my votes, then pulled the lever back to the left. Ka-chunk.

Thing is, I wasn’t all that prepared. At least at first. I received a voting brochure in the mail this past week. A registered republican friend informed me only democrats received the flyer. (Don’t tell BYU, I want to surprise them.)

So, this morning I flipped through the flyer and checked out the candidates for mayor, public advocate, comptroller, and city council. Each of the candidates had a photo next to a description of her/his intentions for the office s/he wants to hold. I read through these descriptions, I got a sense of each of the platforms. When it came down to it, I decided to base my vote on two criteria:

1) Headshot – Which way is the candidate’s head turned? What kind of “look” is s/he giving the camera? Is there a personable connection? Hairline – receding, plugs? Hair color – natural, dyed, drastically dyed? Facial hair – neat trim on the men, neat or nonexistent on the women? Cheesy smile? Are all the teeth there? Natural smile? Cheesy seriousness? Genuine resolve?

2) Typos – it was enough that some of the candidates’ backgrounds made me question their … qualifiedityness, but when the writeups are missing words or have misspelled words, and when the fine print says the candidates submitted their own blurbs, that makes it hard for me to vote for them.

I did take into account other factors, such as difficulty in name pronunciation (can you say it five times fast?), criminal record (felonies versus misdemeanors, also counting visits to the principal’s office and number of demerits), cookie proclivity (pro? anti?).

You bet my vote’s going to count.

I promise, I took it seriously. Given my political party’s predisposition to rhetoric, I had to sift through some fluffy candidates to find more substantial ones. Admittedly, it took a little longer than I expected, but I felt I made some good choices.

Let’s hope so.