Wednesday, March 09, 2016

A day of democracy

Yesterday was a day of democracy, though it started out as an ordinary Tuesday. My mother-in-law stayed with us on Monday night, and we were going out to lunch at a great Japanese restaurant in Birkenhead, right near the Postshop. That made it the perfect day to pop my ballots in the post.

First, though, I had to vote.

First up was my postal ballot for the second New Zealand Flag Referendum. The unmarked ballot is up top. I’ve made clear how I intended to vote, and I did as I promised: I voted to change the flag. Unlike others, though, I decided not to do a photo of the marked ballot.

Next up, it was my ballot for the Illinois Democratic Primary (left). I vote for my choice for Democratic nominee for President, for US Senator from Illinois, US Representative from the district I last lived in (not visible in the photo; she was unopposed), and also seven delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

It’s actually a violation of Illinois law to show a marked ballot, so mine is blank—but that would have been my photo, anyway: For the first time in my adult life, I’ve decided to not talk about who I voted for. That’s because whatever choices I made (president and delegate), some would be delighted and some would not, and I just don’t care to fuel any division by revealing my choices (at least, not at the moment—I might change my mind). The position of my hand and pen in the photo is NOT a clue, by the way: I was merely trying to show the moment of decision approaching.

I put my voting papers in their respective envelopes, and off we went. We had an awesome lunch, and a nice, relaxing time. When we were done, I went off to post my ballots while my mother-in-law checked out the used books in the nearby opshop.

On my way into the Postshop, I popped my flag referendum ballot into the box. Here’s the obligatory photo of that:

Next, I went inside to get the postage for the US ballot, since I had to send it airmail. It’d actually be free to send if I took it to the US Consulate in the CBD, but that’s more hassle than it’s worth. As it happens, it was only $3.60 to post (today, around US$2.43), which I didn’t think was too bad.

I left with the envelope with the proper NZ postage on it, and headed to the letterbox for airmail. Below is the obligatory photo of me posting that ballot:

And that was my day of democracy. I had to document it because, of course, I always do, and also because it’s the first time I can remember voting in two countries’ elections on the same day. Sometimes being an expat can be a bit odd.

But voting is always important—and fun. And, so was yesterday.

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