Thursday, May 05, 2005

My voting obsession

I have a rather bizarre interest in the voting habits and processes of other countries, and in voting in general, really. I have strong memories of going along with my parents when they went to vote at the local primary school when I was really little - it seemed like a pretty cool thing to do, and it was even cooler when I got to do it myself.

So every time there's a major election somewhere in the world, such as a general election in the UK, I get rather excited. Elections are cool, man! Which gets me, in a round about way, to my topic, because I was reading an article about the blasts at the UK consulate in New York, and about how "there were no provisions for Britons to vote at overseas consulates". That's weird, I thought. The AEC lets you vote in person... well, I won't say anywhere, but there was a polling booth in Antarctica for pete's sake, so there's a good chance there's a place near you. So I did a bit of research, and apparently, if you're British, and you're overseas: no in-person voting for you! It's a postal vote (and you have to have the ballots back at your local polling booth by election day) or a proxy vote.

A proxy vote. Let's examine this concept, shall we? Because to me, someone who is really completely amateurish in the ways of voting, this seems a little weird. Aren't you effectively giving your vote to someone else? Because you can't really be sure that your proxy is going to submit your vote properly, are you. They could just not bother to turn up on the day, come to think of it. Bugger off down the pub instead while your democratic right goes to waste. And doesn't it kind of put to waste the entire concept of the secret ballot (also known as the Australian ballot, because we invented it)? Because even if your proxy can be bothered to (1) turn up on election day, and (2) actually vote for the person you wanted, they do actually have to know for whom you want your vote cast. Which, well, isn't all that secret anymore, is it? Would someone like to explain to me the theory behind still having proxy-voting?

So yeah, I found that weird. But, if on the off-chance you are reading this and you are in the UK and you are eligible to vote: go do it! The polls are open until 10pm, so there's really no excuse. It'll be fun, I promise! Voting rocks, man (except, in my opinion, when you do it by proxy, but I'm willing to be convinced if someone wants to explain the theory of it to me!).

On a completely unrelated note: why oh why wasn't Lost on tonight? I'm feeling bereft and, well... lost!


Jimmy said...

I just voted! Yay!

Mads said...

Yay for voting! Even if you did (I presume) vote for the wrong side... :P

crip said...

YAY! for compulsory voting