Election Day follies

Nov 07

It’s over.

With the election now over, hopefully we can all move along and get going with lives. It’s time these candidates — who have spent billions of dollars on campaigns — actually try and fix what’s wrong with this country. It’s time to get us out of this economic mess.

But enough of that. This blog isn’t a political battle ground. It never has been and it never will be. I’m not the most political person and I don’t intend on becoming one.

Instead, I’d like to talk about a couple of interesting things from Election Day.

First is in regard to my own experience. I went to vote as per normal today. I decided, while there, to take some photos of my (empty) ballot with my iPhone. It’s not illegal to do this in New York. In fact, I’m pretty sure I took my main camera in a couple of years ago.

Anyway, I posted this shot to Instagram:

The ballot.

A harmless shot, right?

See, apparently it’s illegal for me to post a shot of my filled-out ballot. Not that I would do it anyway because I don’t think it’s anybody’s business who I voted for, especially not if I am sending it out on a social media network, such as Instagram or Twitter.

But this is a harmless thing. The ballot is easily obtainable online.

And, according to the Citizen Media Law Project, it’s not even illegal for me to carry a camera into a polling center in New York. It is, however, prohibited for me to take photos or film my own marked ballot.

Forget that it’s a silly rule. According to New York Election Law § 17-130, it’s a misdemeanor for people to show their ballots after prepared for voting “to any person so as to reveal the contents.”

So, soon after I posted this photo, I get a comment. Below is the comment and my response.

As you can tell from my response, I was a little humored by said response.

My favorite part is being told I could get into serious legal trouble (first, it’s a misdemeanor and I can’t imagine any state has it as a felony; second, I can’t imagine most district attorneys actually pressing charges) and then being told my vote could “easily be discarded.” Um… first, they’d have to track me down and figure it all out. Remember, I didn’t post who I voted for. I also love being told to delete my post.

This was followed by a comment from the original person, as well as a comment from another person:

So this person makes sure to tell me I need to delete my vote, yet doesn’t even look at the photo. I saw these types of things on Twitter and other places on Instagram. People make quick comments without knowing the full story behind laws or anything else.

Either way, I got a kick out of it.

The second story is something I saw on a friend’s Facebook page.

He wrote: “Yes I have ID…no you can’t see it….

He’s in Pennsylvania. It’s not a requirement to show ID to vote. In fact, I don’t think it’s required anywhere by law. I don’t think, anyway. I know in New York, I’ve never had to show ID to vote.

But it wasn’t the fact of being asked that got under the skin of my friend — it was that the three people in front of him were not asked to show their ID.

I can’t disagree with being a little annoyed with this situation. If you are going to ask, ask for all. Actually, if it’s not a law, it shouldn’t be asked at all.

In the end, he didn’t show ID. He told them that his signature in the book would verify his ID. He then signed and went to vote.

Sometimes, I wonder what people think. Why even ask for the ID?

In the end, it didn’t matter. The voting happened. But you have to wonder if there would be people who might balk at it or not realize they don’t have to show the ID. Maybe they don’t have it and then leave without voting. That would be awful because it would mean somebody didn’t vote who tried to vote.

All because somebody decided to ask for something they aren’t supposed to ask for.

In the end, the vote was cast and all was good in the world. For now, anyway.

The election has now ended. So, too, should the phone calls, advertisements and everything else. Hopefully, the election signs and posters will come down soon as we can all move on. Whether it’s on a national level or local level, it’s time to start fixing.

A final note on election day. With so much eyeing the big elections, one seemed to get brushed aside. Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the United States, went to the polls to decide whether or not they would seek to change their situation or remain the same. If changed, they had to vote on three options, one of which was to pursue statehood.

I’ve looked all over and it seems the first part is pretty close right now. The second part is leaning toward statehood. Obama and Romney both said during campaigning that they would support what Puerto Rico voted. That means there’s a chance that we might see the 51st state added to the USA. Besides eventually having an impact on the politics in the United States, this could be an extremely historic moment. The last two states to be added to the Union — Alaska and Hawaii — were added in 1959.

I, for one, am quite interested in this as it would be an amazing historical moment to see unfold. It’s a shame that the mainstream media in the United States seems to be ignoring this. This decision (which would need to pass through Congress to change anything) could have a massive impact on things four years from now.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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