Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I exercised my right to vote today.

Since we officially moved in June, I was voting at a new location. It was a much larger polling place than our old Frank Brown Recreation Center locale. On the bright side, when I walked in, there was a really long line in front of me...for whatever names included last names that begin with P (I saw some church family members there, that's how I knew), but the A-B line was nonexistent, so I waltzed up, they checked my name, the old man made a lame "Leave it to Beaver" joke, they handed me my ballot, and I went and sat down and connected some arrows. Not all of them, mind you. Just some of them.

Do you know anything about the Alabama constitution? No? Well, my education about it started in my Texas State and Local Government class that I had to have as a part of my teaching certificate in Texas. Yes, I learned about Alabama's constitution in Texas. Why, you ask? Well, because Texas has a really old, really messed up state constitution. However, when they start feeling bad about having the second most horrendously organized constitution (and the second most amendments of all 50 states), they look to the fat kid in class to make them feel better. And when I say fat, I mean FAT. To put this in perspective, the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1787 and has 27 amendments (approx. 0.12 amendments per year). The Texas constitution has been in effect since 1876 and has 467 amendments (approx. 3.5 amendments per year since its inception). The Alabama constitution has been around since 1901 and has 827 amendments (to date, making that approx. 7.5 amendments per year). Gee whiz! And you want to get all factoid on me? Here's the dish from Wikipedia:

At 357,157 words, the document is 12 times longer than the average state constitution, 40 times longer than the U.S. Constitution, and is the longest still-operative constitution anywhere in the world. (The English translation of the Constitution of India, the longest national constitution, is about 117,369 words long, a third of the length.)

Anyway, Alabama's law puts amendments up for approval that affect a specific county and the entire state gets to vote on the law. So, for instance (and this is a totally made up example), if Jefferson County wanted to raise property taxes, it would go to the whole state to vote on. Why should I care what is happening up in Jefferson County, and who am I to make that decision for them? I think it's stupid, and Alabama desperately needs constitutional reform. And that is partly why I only completed some arrows on my ballot.

Another reason I don't complete the arrow is if the person is running unchallenged. One vote wins it, and I just don't care that much. But, I was surprised to see Eli's former boss on the ballot--unchallenged, to boot--and contrary to my usual practice, I completed that arrow.

My last thought for today is something I have never thought about before: County Coroner is an elected position. Weird. (This year's candidate was running unchallenged. I'm not really that surprised....)



Craig-Jen said...

County coroner? Really?

That is weird.

I absentee voted early. No way was I going to take Madeline with me to the polls, so I did it that way. I'm impressed you voted in person.

And get this...the schools (in Cobb county at least) are closed on election day. I don't get it. It's not a national holiday (although I bet more people would vote if it was). And the post office was closed here, too. But the post office is lazy. Still, I don't get it.

Elijah said...

I'll let Jake know you voted for him. He got fewer votes than the sheriff or the coroner (all of them ran unopposed).

Beaver said...

Oh, Jen. I'm no super woman. I left the kids at the babysitter until I voted, then picked them up after school. I would not have taken them to this election. However, I did take Elsie to vote in the primaries and she did a great job. But, that was back before she was running all over the place. :)

Do they use the schools in Cobb county as polling places? That's why I thought schools would close for election day. I know Daphne ran into that up in Delaware.

Craig-Jen said...

I think you nailed it. I told Craig about it and he remembered his schools being used as polling locations. It's still weird to me though...

..and even if you didn't take the two offspring along with you, I still think you're Superwoman!!!!!