Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Voting for the Love of It

You have to admire the New Yorkers who spent hours waiting to cast ballots today, especially since voting in this city (at least in this election) appears to be a wholly academic exercise.

When I got through the line at my polling place and reached the voting booth, I realized that absolutely nothing I was voting for was in contention. Nothing.

Like California, New York isn't a battleground state, so it's not like the presidential election was up for grabs. And unlike California, New York doesn't have referendums. So I wasn't able to vote on contentious issues such as the death penalty, three-strikes laws and the labeling of genetically modified food (all of which were on the California ballot).

On top of that, it seems to take forever to vote here. I waited in line for the ballot, then waited for a poll worker to s-l-o-w-l-y inscribe my name on a form, then waited in another line to put my ballot through a scanner. (Sorry, I guess I should say I waited "on line" for these things.)

By this measure, California is a model of efficiency. I've voted in multiple locations in San Francisco, as well as Santa Cruz, and nothing has ever taken this long (even though the typical California ballot is as complicated as an SAT exam).

So I'm honestly impressed with the fortitude of New York voters. They put up with a lot  not to actually decide anything with their ballots, but to support the abstract notion of democracy.