November 08, 2006

My election day rant 

I love voting on Election Day, I truly do. I wear that little 'I Voted' sticker like a badge of honor, like a silent-but-deadly public scolding to all those citizen-slackers out there who can't bother to make a few holes in a punchcard (or whatever...for me this year it was fill-in-the-little-circles). I know, I know, many non-voters don't pay enough attention to make an informed electoral choice, so they feel they're not qualified. Or they think "Why even bother?" The only answer I have is to take a good look at what's happening. Our communities, our nation, and this miracle we call Earth need our engaged attention. Look at the races that are decided by a few votes, and in one recent case, by a single vote. Then tell me your vote doesn't matter. But that's not why I'm writing this. I want to rant about something else entirely. Let me share with you a few pictures of my election day voting experience. This is the Hays Center in Champaign, which for years has been my polling place. A lovely little Park District facility three blocks from my house. And it's good that I know it so well because, well, it's not exactly endowed with prominent polling place signage. We see here a door in the back of the building with a small sign. The doorway is, shall we say, adorned with the colours of autumn. Basically it's choked with leaves, like no-one could be bothered to clean it up and make the place findable, let alone presentable. Here's a closer look.
I know I'm not making any friends with the County Clerk in pointing this out, but that's not my job. I also acknowledge that the Champaign County polling seemed to go very smoothly indeed (take that Mark Sheldon!). Here's my point: We should not only vote, but celebrate the act of voting. It should be a day of enthusiastic expression of what it means to live in a free country. I'm not asking for a parade, but merely a sense of aesthetics. If we care so little about the look and feel of democracy, how can we expect everyone to embrace it?

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