Tuesday, November 6, 2012

For Tuesday I Walk to the Village

...and voted, and voted some more.

Not too bad today, actually. First of all: I just went over there now, at 2PM, and there seemed to be a steady stream of voters. I had to wait in line behind only two people, but most or all of the eight machines were being used, and there was the same sort of line when I was leaving. While I was voting, a new voter signed in, and the election workers gave her a big cheer. Which was sad for me; my oldest is voting for the first time this fall, but she voted absentee (plus Texas delivered her ballot so slowly that she's worried it won't get in on time. Probably will, though). So the world owes her an ovation for first-time voting. Meanwhile, for regular readers, I'm afraid I have to throw in an irrelevant bit of follow-up; I previously reported that the elementary school where I vote had adopted the inexplicable slogan of "Ubiquitous." Well, now they've very aggressively become a "seven habits" school, which means that there's both a poster outside and a painted column in the lobby urging the K-5 set to learn how to "synergize." Uh huh.

Sorry for the distraction.

We were called on to vote 36 times, all but one of which were partisan candidate elections. Texas gives us the magic button, so that automatically filled in my party...except for half a dozen or so cases where my party didn't file a candidate. In three of those, I went with a minor party; in the others, I didn't vote. Then we had one city ballot measure. As these things go, it's extremely straightforward: raise taxes to pay for a pre-K program. Alas, not very many interesting or seriously contested elections at all -- we're within blocks (I'm not sure, but maybe within yards) of the hostly contested TX-23 House election, but we're in Lamar Smith's very safe seat, so nothing doing. County tax assessor, a few judges, and the pre-K thing are really the only possibly close races, as far as I can tell.

This was the fourth election day for my precinct this year, with 79 choices; the fifth election day over the two-year cycle, with a grand total of 81 choices. Far below the 100+ number from the previous cycle, but still more than people in many democracies are called upon to make over a lifetime of voting.

As always, I wish good luck to all the candidates, who are champions of the republic just for running.


  1. Well, now they've very aggressively become a "seven habits" school, which means that there's both a poster outside and a painted column in the lobby urging the K-5 set to learn how to "synergize."

    Maybe some of the kids will acquire keen BS detectors early on.

  2. Apropos of very little, I simply wish to note that, as of 4:16 PM EST, ol' reliable Matt Drudge has not yet put up any sort of stretched "Romney wins!" screed.

    In the realm of tea leaves, I would say this counts as a pretty good omen for the President.

  3. Always hope you'll write a post with your thoughts on the U.S. vs. other democracies: the long ballot, PR vs. FPTP, and all the rest and its consequences.

    You seem to have an interesting alternative to what seem to be common wonk/blog views (parliaments elected by PR are good, campaigning is bad, ministerial bureaucracies are good), but you often mention it in passing or with only general descriptions.

    In general, the topic often seems to be discussed in abstract terms (vote your conscience! bureaucracies have blind spots!) or in specious ones (country X has process Y and policy Z so if we had process Y we'd get policy Z). But in terms of specifics about comparative effects on policies, I'd like to know more.

  4. Xeno, there's a book, probably several years old now, in which political scientists report the results of their study of various democracies and whether broad policy outcomes can be correlated with governmental and voting systems. From flipping through this at a bookstore, I got the impression that they didn't find very much correlation, but there might be a lot more than that in the book -- whose title and authors I'm sorry to say I have no chance of remembering at this point, but maybe JB can put you onto it (or something like it).

  5. Geepers! And we only had four in the last two years and twelve ballot measures this time... And seven elected positions.

    How do you even keep track of 36 things? How do you get enough information to choose each one? That seems designed to be easily manipulated...


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