Don't Even Bother Me, Then

A couple of weeks ago, I got my primary ballot in the mail.

My county moved to "all mail-in" ballots a couple of years ago.

The problem is: I actually like going to an actual voting booth -- it feels all civic-duty and shit -- but -- whatever.

Thing is, the Democratic party in Washington had already decided to assign 100% of their delegates through the caucus process.


But. Then. Don't. Send. Me. A. Fucking. Paper. Ballot.

Cuz, you know -- Paper=Trees? Postage=$? Huge Postal Vans=Fossil Fuels Depleted? For just a start . . . .

I'm a registered Democrat, and I know, I know, they were just trying to make sure that I didn't want to change my mind at the last minute and vote Republican. They were trying to help me out! Graciously, they sent me two ballots in my thick, heavy ballot mailing -- one Donkey and one Elephant -- and the extra-thick, extra-heavy, extra-secure ballot-return envelope gives you two boxes, so that you can sign either the Democratic or Republican Party Oath.

The Dem Oath being sort of Unitarian about it:

"I declare that I consider myself to be a DEMOCRAT and I will not participate in the nomination process of any other political party for the 2008 Presidential election." (italics, mine, CAPS, theirs)
While the Repubs were a bit more demanding in the commitment area:
"I declare that I am a member of the Republican Party and I have not participated and will not participate in the 2008 precinct caucus or convention system of any other party." (again, italics mine)
What seemed completely fucked up to me was that, amongst all of the "you must sign the Oath and check a box" and the Affidavit that I do solemnly swear, and the detailed directions for what to do if I used my blue pen instead of my black pen (I'm supposed to use a black pen -- and I can only use one of the two ballots or my vote will not be counted, and if I don't swear my party oath, my vote will not be counted, and if I falsely sign the oath, I can be punished by a maximum imprisonment of 5 years, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both!) -- what seems fucked up is that, while they found room on the ballot to print all this very clearly, they didn't bother to put on the Democratic Ballot any words like:

"It's a caucus, Shit-For-Brains! Don't bother to send this ballot in! Don't waste your stamp! Use this nice, heavy paper to make Origami instead!"

I must say that the caucus system is rage-inducing to me.

Sure, there was probably a point where it might have actually worked better than balloting -- a time when people lived in small, closely-knit villages, and everyone represented at the caucus (oh, except that, during that time, women and people of color probably couldn't vote) -- a time when babies and small children were not considered "inappropriate" as public accessories, so that parents could exercise their right to participate in the process without forking out $30-$40 to a baby-sitter (oh, except that, during that time, women stayed at home with the bairns and men did the voting) -- a time when businesses actually closed down so that workers could go do their civic duty (and if you don't think workers have to work on a Saturday, well, visit a town whose major industry is tourism) . . . . yes -- during a time like that -- well, maybe it might have worked.

The caucuses in my town are small (the town is small) by comparison to an urban caucus -- but that can actually work against people with disabilities, since few small-town caucuses provide sign-language interpretation or help for folks who have mobility challenges -- not to mention the basic issue for people who just aren't up for the fucking intensity of a caucus. I mean, really -- does a 100% caucus-based vote mean that the Democratic Party in Washington State doesn't value the votes of people with PTSD, anxiety-disorders, and elder voters who would rather be eaten alive by weevils than to sit in a room where people were shouting?

But I digress from my subject-matter -- which is: If you are going to fucking decide that 100% of the delegates in Washington State will be decided in caucus -- don't bother me with a ballot -- or at the very least, be sure to put across it, in big, red, diagonal letters: "This paper was just wasted . . . . oh -- and the stamp, too . . . . oh - and your time spent in opening it . . . . . oh, and the energy consumed in writing, printing, delivering, and eventually, recycling it. Sincerely, The Democratic Party of Washington State -- you know, the people who are worried about the Environment! Yep! That's Us!"

Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:58 PM  


Anonymous said... February 14, 2008 at 12:20 PM  

I've been reading and not commenting, so consider this a de-lurk. I love reading your posts!

I live in Seattle, and the caucus thing is driving me crazy. I sent in my paper ballot, simply because I was unable to go to my caucus, and I'm really interested in what the "meaningless" vote numbers will be. Like I've been saying to anyone who will listen :) if I, a master-degree holding young professional with no language barriers and no psychological disorders and no disabilities could not get out of work to go to my caucus (and didn't know I could download a form to have someone vote as my proxy), how many other people didn't make it? I think if you crunch the numbers (unofficial so far) it's something like a 12% voter turnout.

And a huge waste of paper as you've said.

PortlyDyke said... February 14, 2008 at 12:29 PM  

I know -- it really burns me up. I'm sending in my "worthless" ballot too. I wonder if they'll even bother to count them, and what they will do if the ballot vote completely counters the caucuses.

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