To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

We have primary elections coming up on August 3. These will be more interesting than most primaries, because of the recent scandals involving longtime incumbents who won't be running, and because of the shenanigans at one of the precincts for which criminal charges are being pressed. I think some people don't realize that voting, and running a precinct, aren't patty-cake. There are serious laws about it, and there have to be, because without rule of law where voting is concerned, a nation like ours would cease to exist. On a local level, that's how you get graft and corruption and political machines and wasted tax dollars and stupid decisions that bring about FBI investigations.

At primary election time I always remember a funny thing that happened at an election I worked at years ago. It was one of those with a Republican primary, a Democratic primary, and a general, all together. We have voting machines that you can enable for either primary plus the general, or the general only. This was back when Sundquist, a (supposed) Republican, was running for the primary the year he was subsequently elected Governor, and our current governor, Bredesen, was running in the Dem. primary. A voter came over to me, very upset, and said that he couldn't seem to vote for Bredesen. I told the machine operator that he must have enabled the Republican primary by mistake, and that the voter wanted the Democratic primary. No, the voter said, he wanted the Republican primary.

"Then you can't vote for Bredesen," I said.

"Why not?"

"Because he isn't running in the Republican primary."

"I've voted in this precinct for 24 years, and I've always voted for the man of my choice, regardless of party!"

"You've never voted for a Democrat in the Republican primary."

Ooh, he was mad then. I tried to explain that he would have the opportunity to vote for the man of his choice in the general, but he hollered at me that I didn't have to explain to him how elections worked, he understood it very well. I bit back "evidently not" while he stormed out, and I had to fill out a report on why we had one more person signed up than we had votes cast.

Another voter wanted a paper ballot. There's just a whole lot of extra stuff you have to do if anybody wants a paper ballot, so I asked him why. So he could vote in both primaries, he said.

"You can't vote in both primaries."

"Really? Are they going to do something about that?"

Uh, no.

I explained to F probably when she was in elementary school, that the primary is the party's opportunity to pick who gets to say they are the Republican nominee or the Democratic nominee, and the general is the election that decides who is actually going to get into office. She understood right away. What is the big deal, really?

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