Yesterday, I loaded up a backpack with emergency rations, bottles of water, a First-Aid kit, and PLENTY of spare ammunition. I grabbed the Shotgun, Katana, and a selection of throwing knives, made sure my will was up to date, and set forth.
No. I was not off to War, Or preventing the Zombie Apocalypse, I was off to do my civic duty and vote!
You are probably thinking “WTF? He’s just going to vote, why would he…. just Why??” So let me explain my voting experience.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin….
I live on the outskirts of one of the largest Community/Villages in Wales, and If I leave my house, and turn left, its a 1 minute drive through civilisation to the nearest polling station. Only I am not allowed to vote there, Oh no, I must use a different one. I have to turn right and head away from civilisation, until I come to a T-Junction where I can turn right and head to the nearest Town, go back the way I came to civilisation, or turn left and head for the hills.
You guessed it. I turned left and headed upwards along a two lane road, that twisted and turned along between farmers fields, meandering upwards until it turned into a road just wider than a single lane. After a while this one and a half lane road, went down to a single lane road as I left the farmland behind and move deeper into the wilderness of the mountains.
Eventually I came to a patch of road where the bank on one side has been worn away and you can force your car into that space leaving enough room for traffic to get past you, as long as that traffic is a small car willing to rub along the hedge. Next to this “Parking Spot” is an old abandoned church hall with a banner outside proclaiming “Polling Station”.
I forced my car into the space and approached the building, trying to avoid the kid sitting outside playing the Banjo. and entered the hall.
You enter into a small entrance hall the size of a cloakroom, and normally there’s a door into the hall. Today the doors were missing and had been replaced with swinging bits of plywood, I tried not to look for any blood stains, and kept my mind off thoughts of hordes of zombies (or Locals) breaking through the original doors after survivors as I swung the ply-board open and entered the hall.
The hall was empty apart from a rickety table with cardboard privacy screens, and a small table facing the door manned by two people who looked to have the combined age of 764. I walked slowly up to the two people, my right hand absently hovering mere inches away from the concealed blade I’d draw at the first sudden movement, or if the Banjo music stopped. I handed over my Voting slip and waited while they tried to find me on the large list of voters. I say large list since the names covered two sides of an A4 sheet. After ten minutes one of them found me, and handing over the voting forms, while the other made a note in his book.
Now I am not saying anything about the average intelligence of the people who vote at this station, but elder of the two explained that one one of the three votes you had the option of a first choice, and a second choice. You did not have to pick a second choice, but if you wanted a second choice you HAD to pick a first choice first.
One of the three votes I had to err vote on was who I wanted in power in the Welsh Assembly. This vote amused me as the first option of parties was the “Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party” Now I am not sure on their polices, But I assume a party that does not want our own assembly would do a very good job in that assembly?
OK, for those of you Readers who live in countries where you left the 18th century and are now living happily in the 21st I should explain how our voting works. You get given a piece of paper, you walk over to a table where a pencil is taped to a piece of string to prevent theft. You put an X in the appropriate box, then return your paper to where you received it, and basically drop it through a letterbox into a glorified bucket. Yes, in this age of computers, touch-screen terminals, and easy technology we in the UK use pencils, those tamper proof voting system that is super secure unless the person wanting to rig the ballot has the cutting edge tools of an eraser and another pencil. Am I the only one who thinks this is a slow, silly, insecure voting system? Also Humans counting thousands of votes? Its way to easy for mistakes to happen. We’re living in the future people, lets try and act like we are. Now where’s my flying car I was promised?
What I am curious about, is how many people actually believe the urban legend that our votes are anonymous, and that big brother does not know what or who we vote for? When I was too young to vote I’d often hear people talking about how voting is anonymous and all that stuff. I found this odd as the magazines and books I read had other facts in that were contra to popular belief. I remember when I was sixteen I read in a biker magazine how if you voted for one of the extreme parties that MI5 would start a file on you. I remember conversations with people when they assured me voting is private and confidential. OK, so if its confidential why when I’m given my voting paper the number written in the top corner of the sheet is marked in a book next to my voting number? So after counting the votes you could pick up the pile of votes for say “The Monster Raving Loony Party” or “The Green Party” or “The BNP” and look up the names of all the people who voted for them. In what way is this anonymous? or is this anonymous in the same way a pencil mark on a bit of paper is secure?
I collected my forms which are basically a folded piece of paper with some squares on it, and took it over to the table where a pencil was taped to a piece of string to prevent theft. I placed my X in the appropriate box, and returned to the “locals”? to drop my vote through a letterbox into a glorified bucket. Yes, in this age of computers, touch-screen terminals, and easy technology we in the UK use pencils, a tamper proof voting system that is super secure unless the person wanting to rig the ballot has the cutting edge tools of an eraser and another pencil. Am I the only one who thinks this is a slow, silly, insecure voting system? Also Humans counting thousands of votes? Its way to easy for mistakes to happen. We’re living in the future people, lets try and act like we are.
I quickly left the hall, backing away from the people behind the table since I was unwilling to turn my back on them. They had not spoken at all during my time in the hall apart from when one read out my name from the list. I exited, quickly checking my car had no extra passengers hiding in it before jumping in and locking the doors. I then shot off down the other side of the mountain to head back to civilisation, and did not relax, or put away the weapons until I hit an area with street lighting.
And that dear Constant Reader, is how I have to vote. If I did not have a large collection of deadly weapons, and no fear of using them I would probably never vote.