Voting woes

By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, November 07, 2007 At 9:15 AM

Yes, I'm one of those people who votes even in off-years.

This year my district's election was done solely by mail-in ballots. (I voted via mail for the first time last year, and I loved it so much that I'll never go to a polling place again unless I have to.) Michael and I filled out our ballots Monday night, and dropped them off yesterday evening.

For the most part, these minor elections don't get much attention, either in campaigning or in news coverage. The major exception this year was a ballot question that would essentially have prevented unions and other associations from taking their dues or donations directly out of employee paychecks.

Although there is an implication there that right now these organizations can take money out employees' paychecks without their full understanding or permission, I think that is only part of the issue. The other part is that the city really has no business knowing what organizations their employees belong to.

Unfortunately, the opposition to this ballot question was quite strong. In fact, I would say they went rather overboard: I received well over a dozen calls throughout the month, just from the "Vote NO" folks. At one point, they called me six times over the course of two days — basically, they just kept calling until they got me in person.

When I finally answered, the lady on the other end went into her spiel in a complete monotone. I thought of interrupting or just hanging up, but truth be told I'm too polite for that. Too bad we can't say the same for these folks: When she was done, the caller actually had the nerve to ask me if I was going to vote the way they wanted! I was appalled. Ever heard the term "secret ballot," lady?

I told her that I was going to look into it some more, and got off the phone. Apparently refusing to tell them my vote put me on some kind of list, though, because for the rest of the month I received a call from these folks at least once every few days. I never answered one of their calls again, but they left message after message on my voice mail. Michael, who never talked to them in person (or, more notably, never told them he was "going to look into it some more"), only received a fraction of the calls I did.

That kind of harassment ought to be illegal.

I guess this is just a taste of what is to come as the 2008 presidential election looms.

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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