Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Very "Special" Election

A couple weeks ago we had the primary for a special election here to fill the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat in the US Senate. I did my part and cast my vote though very few people did as it wasn't much of a race (Martha Coakley easily won her spot on the democratic ticket). As I reflected on this most recent voting experience I thought about why people are so uninterested in the process and it wasn't hard to find the reasons.

Our polling place is very conveniently located just around the corner from our place. It's in a not-so-nice nursing home that incidentally is built on the spot where the home of Helen Keller used to stand. There are the remnants of an ancient, yet finely crafted wrought iron fence that probably belonged to the original house but back to my original point. The whole experience was rather depressing. I was the only person voting at the time I stopped by and apart from the poll workers checking people in an out the only other people around were a couple of the nursing home residents who came to sit on a bench in the hallway to watch people come by and the most bored looking police officer sitting at a table in the back of the room reading a newspaper.

I thought about why it's so difficult to get young adults to vote and realized that this experience is part of the reason why. Whether you're in school or have just finished with school the last thing you want to do is drag yourself down to the local nursing home and fill out what's basically another scantron test. Maybe the answer is another format (and venue). What if instead of scantron forms you threw darts to pop balloons with the name of your candidate written on them, or you shot a squirt gun into the mouth of a clown that looked like who you wanted to vote for, or any other sort of carnival game. Anyway, I'm not sure what the answer is (beyond the obvious goal of making people more engaged in politics and elections) but I know that filling out little bubbles in a tiny booth in a nursing home isn't an appealing way to attract voters.

1 comment:

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