Tuesday, March 15, 2016

I voted – and I’ve been counted

Today I got the following note by email about the Illinois Primary:
Dear Arthur Schenck,

Your ballot for the following election

General Primary

has been COUNTED.

For more information, contact your local election official

Thank you,
Illinois State Board of Elections
I’ve been talking about this over the past six weeks, beginning in January, when I talked about the MOVE programme and overseas voting, comparing the USA with some other countries. The email I quoted from was generated because I took part in Illinois’ MOVE-FPCA programme. In February, I talked about the Illinois Primary and what was on my ballot. Then, of course, I posted my ballot back one week ago today, and wrote about it the following day.

This is the first end-to-end discussion of my own voting I’ve ever been able to document—apart from who I voted for, since I haven’t discussed that, nor even provided any hints. This year, documenting the evolving process for voting by overseas US citizens was my main interest, not the politics of it. Yeah, even I think that’s a little weird for me…

Knowing, as I do, how paranoid some of my fellow Americans are, I should point out that my ballot was secret. They knew to send me this email because the envelope in which I returned my ballot had a barcode to help them track it and direct the final ballot (you can see it above my thumb in the bottom photo in last week’s post). However, that’s not actually much different from how they track any voter: In-person voters sign-in at their polling places and are marked off; which party’s ballot, if any, is also recorded. My actual ballot was kept secure the whole time.

The email—the first time I've ever been sent an email like this—was in some ways the equivalent of the “I Voted” stickers that people get when they vote in person—or, rather, it is now that I’ve shared the text. That’s part of the reason I quoted from it, since I don’t get a sticker. It was kind of nice for me, if only symbolically, that I got this “sticker” on March 15, just as my voting friends and family in Illinois will tomorrow, when it’s March 15 there.

So, my voting process for this year’s Illinois Democratic Primary is now completed. When Illinois’ vote totals are announced tomorrow, mine will be included, something I could never be sure of until this year.

It’s nice to be counted.

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