Absentee Voting

Today's topic is absentee voting, and more importantly the ballots upon which it is done. Absentee ballots piss me off for at least two reasons. First, it means that I'm not going to be voting in person on election day. Which means I don't get to chat up the nice old ward ladies, and they're always excited to see a young face. Especially a really attractive one. Second, I've come to realize that absentee ballots are specifically designed to eliminate as many possible votes as possible. The trick with Phila. ballots is all in the folding. After completing the ballot, printed on heavy stock oversized paper, you then are required to fit it into the return envelope. While this may sound easy enough, it actually requires fairly precise folding. Because the return envelope is a completely different size than the envelope the ballot arrives in, you have no creases to guide you, every fold must be a new one (and remember: heavy stock paper). The other complication arises after you realize just how small the return envelope actually is. Not only is it the length and width that are important, but the depth as well. In the end a rather precise fold is necessary in order to fit the thing in length and width wise while still being able to actually seal the envelope.

The Madison ballot is actually much more straight forward. Its intricacies come first from mastering the use of the thinnest pencil ever made. After that you just have to follow the 2 pages of instructions, all in the presence of a witness, who while able to see the ballot, cannot actually see how you are voting; quite a precise arrangement of objects. Then discard the pencil.

So, the question is: are these just examples of bad designs wrought by bloated bureaucracy, or deliberate attempts to disadvantage to the clumsy and spatially handicapped? I don't care, but god damn if I'm going to discard the pencil.

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