Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Auspicious Dates

One of my blogger friends, Jeanne in NYC at "Rock the Bald", said something about auspiciious days on her blog. It seems an apt description for me as well.

1) It just hit me today that I've been blogging for over a year - I started this blog on October 15, 2007. Boy, those early entries of mine are interesting to read - it was when I thought that my cancer was only 2-3mm in size. What a difference a year makes!

2) Yesterday - November 3 -marked the one year anniversary of my Boob Ball. In honor of that anniversary, here is another picture of that event that I don't think I posted before:

Karen's entry for the "boob food" contest -

Heather Kenagy with her stepdaughter, Kiana - (This is Heather from "My Xeloda" fame.)

I think I should have another party sometime soon, huh?

3) Yesterday, I worked on my placename density article all day and got an almost final draft! I think I need to fix some typos and make a couple of other small changes, but I think that I will be able to send it out tomorrow! Yay! Interesting that I finished it on the first anniversary of the Boob Ball.

4) Today, as everyone knows, is Election Day. Two of my fellow bloggers (NYC Jeanne and Carver) said that they went to their polling stations when they first opened today. Laurie, at Not Just About Cancer, lives in Canada, but she posted a Doonesbury cartoon about the election. I'd more or less tuned out most of the campaigning - I'd made up my mind long ago and the stuff I found out about Palin when in Alaska only solidified my vote (i.e., for Obama) - and today felt like a normal kind of day to me -nothing special. Part of that is because Oregon has mail-in balloting, so there's no going to the polls and standing in line to cast your vote. On the one hand, as an anthropologist who appreciates rituals and how they highlight special events in life, not going to a polling station does diminish that sense of camaraderie that can come with seeing evidence that you're doing your part in a democracy. In other words, we Oregonians do lose out, to some extent, on the excitement that comes with bumping into fellow voters at the voting booth. On the other hand, I do think that the mail-in balloting does increase voter turnout. Bill Bradbury, Oregon's Secretary of State, said that after the 2004 election, Oregon had an 87% voter turnout rate in a Washington Post article. However, there are some critics that state that perhaps Vote By Mail isn't a good idea because it seems to favor affluent voters, because they state that there is a higher chance for fraud, because it could be manipulated by election officials and because it relies on the reliability of the U.S. Postal Service.

I want to note that one study they cite shows that Vote by Mail increased voter turnout in Oregon by 4% (another study said 10%), but that it only tended to increase the numbers of people who were more inclined to vote anyway. At first blush, my response is that any increase in the numbers of voters is a good thing, right? In terms of fraud, the only studies that the authors cite are from local elections in Georgia and Florida - there doesn't seem to have been any cases of voter fraud in Oregon. In fact, during last spring's primary election, on my mail-in ballot, I forgot to sign the envelope (they put a secrecy envelope over your ballot and then you stick this into another envelope that you sign, stating that you're registered and that you are the person listed on the ballot) and the election officials tried to contact me at work to let me know, but it was toolate in the afternoon and by the time I got the message, it was too late, so they didn't count my ballot. (I think I need to give them my cell number.) In terms of being manipulated by election officials - the authors state that Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and California do distinguish between active and in-active voters, with the implication being that in-active voters might not be sent a ballot. But other than citing an example from Colorado, it does not state that this kind of thing happens in Oregon. As far as I know, Oregon sends ballots out to all registered voters. Oregon even makes sure when you get your driver's license that you can register to vote and/or change your address as a registered voter. And, the comment about the U.S. postal service - I think it's fairly reliable. And, I think that if voters did not get their ballot here in Oregon, they could go to their county elections office to get a replacement one.

I, for one, like the convenience of vote-by-mail. It works for me. I've lived in three other states - Alaska, Virginia, and Connecticut - and I only really remember voting in Connecticut as the years in Virginia and Alaska were non-presidential election years, so I didn't even bother to register. I notice that I vote in the smaller elections, too, because of this vote-by-mail system. The ballot comes in the mail and it sits on my table, reminding me that I need to vote, as it is my duty as a citizen.

I'm currently watching CNN and based on their projections - as of 7:41pm PDT, Obama has 207 electoral votes and McCain has 135.

No comments: