I Voted


 Image result for i voted sticker

The World The Way I see It

 by Jay Beacham


Today was another beautiful fall day in the southwest corner of Utah.

A few wispy cirrus clouds in an otherwise blue sky. Still with no breeze.

Just a nice day.

Nice to stand in a long line outside the Southern Utah Veterans Center

in Ivins, Utah, waiting to cast one’s ballot  in the November 8th election.

Not to warm or cold.

The staff from the Center provided cookies, water and punch for those

waiting in line to vote.

I mentioned to a neighbor lady in line that if we had this kind of turn out

for a local election, it would be great.  Few turn out for local elections whose

outcome more directly affect our lives on a daily basis.

Bonnie B. I knew and a Jon K. up further in the line but not the others around me,

so I introduced myself.

They were Ashland and her two year old son, Nixon in his stroller,Michelle G,

Mike and Rene.  We all talked and I even stepped out of line for a moment

or two to speak to Jon K.

Later as they were leaving, I spoke to Harold and Sonja B.

They are originally from Germany and Switzerland.

Yesterday, a friend from The Gambia, West Africa messaged me to  ask if

I’d voted already.

The out come of this national election interests the whole world.

Some voted early like Jim H. who left the building after visiting with WWII veteran

Jack R.  “To avoid the lines,”  he told me.

What did we talk about while we waited?

The weather, the cookies, the children not there.

“Glad I didn’t bring my 5 year old,” Ashland said.

Bonnie had left her 4 year old with a sitter, the others were in school.

Michelle’s daughter was in school.

And of course the election was a big topic

of our conversations.

The Electoral College and was there a point to the individual popular vote.

And who are those chosen as electorals and how are they chosen.  We

didn’t know and doubted if we had any say about it.

We spoke about local disinterest and complaining but not voting or going to town

council meetings and an unwillingness to serve as an elected official by most.

Later in the after noon, I spoke with a women who didn’t vote saying it was only a

choice between two evils.  I reminded her of a local tax increase initiative on the ballot.

We talked about the results, reporting, etc.

 One third party presidential candidate

several years ago, didn’t even learn how many votes were for him.

That year I served on his election committee locally and sent off for election

results to all the states and territories and districts.  Louisiana sent me a copy of

 a New Orleans newspaper with results.

The Shortest and most comprehensive report I got except for the Hawaii official results

which came in two large books, precinct by precinct, which I received in mid July.

South Carolina wanted to charge $36 for their book. I didn’t get it as I’d only wanted

the total vote for each major candidate.

I didn’t mention it, but I was amazed that year by all the votes for Micky and Minnie Mouse,

TV night show hosts, church men, comedians, actors and the like. Wasted votes for sure.

A former county commissioner told me when he was still in office that a small handful

of people ran things in the county.

 “…a very small handful,” he said, “And I’m not one of them.”

Sad isn’t it.

The voting machines were finally working, so the voting sped up and so did the line.

I voted and then on the way out spoke to a receptionist of the center, Kathy W., who’d

not voted yet because of the long slow lines.

When I got home I called my older brother, who not owning a car, needed a ride to his

voting place.

I drove to his apartment and then drove him to an elementary school  for his chance to vote.

I waited for him for 40 minutes while I wrote my thought down.

Did my vote make a difference at any level?

My brother thought the only two votes of import to him was the presidential vote and

the vote for or against a proposed county tax increase.  Both he and I voted against it.

He’d spoken to people who’d tried but couldn’t vote absentee for some reason and

those who wanted write in ballots.

He bought up the issue of those already in office using government funds, stamping machines,

etc. to electioneer.

There were exit pollsters there.  He told them he didn’t have time to respond.

I believe reporting exit polls is a bad thing used to influence elections before they are officially over

nation wide, before the polls are closed in Hawaii and Guam,

Even before absentee and military votes are counted..

We have a lot of election problems.

Does spending more money than the next guy win elections?

 It seems that this National Election has been all about money.

How much each campaign can raise and spend on advertising.

One Presidential candidate started suggested contributions at $3.00 a person

while spending huge sums of his own money.

PACs raised and spent vast amounts on all sides.

What happens to unused campaign contributions?

This election reminds me of the 1970 Presidential Election in Austria.

I stood on a street corner of the cobble stone streets of Vienna one day waiting for a street car.

The campaigners were out in force handing out flyers to each passerby.  One lady took

the literature offered and grumbled on her way to a nearby garbage receptacle attached to a

light post.  The container was over flowing with flyers previously thrown there.

“It doesn’t make any difference who you vote for, ” she said, “they all waste our money.”

There’s voter fraud, reporting results before all the votes are counted, people not voting, etc.

But while in line, I related to Bonnie B. what N.S. had once told the County Republican Convention

when he served as chairman.  He had visited his mother in his native Iran and took her

to the elections while there.  He said that there were armed guards at the polling place,

each holding a machine gun.

We have our voting problems but it’s better here than elsewhere.