Vote for Me! Like Me!

As speed picks up in the run towards election day, candidates, parties and interest groups will try to influence turnout among their loyalists. If you haven’t heard it yet, elections belong to those who show up. Or at least to those with the best legal team to manage the recount.

Ideas to re-arrange our system have ranged from two-day voting to voting on weekends to making Election Day a national holiday. Or simply requiring that everyone cast a ballot or be fined. All worthy of consideration, except that last one.

Right now it’s a chore and an interruption. You have to travel to some community room or a church that you only go to on Election Day, wait for the judge to find you on the printout, take your ballot to the tiny desk on spindly legs, remember how to use a pencil, and let the guessing begin!

Those who consistently go to the trouble of voting in the General Elections and the Primary (August 14th!) do so out of civic pride, genuine involvement in and respect for participatory democracy, habit, spite, and of course, the little red “I Voted” lapel sticker.

That sticker is the one frivolous and fun element in the whole process. What do we spend on those, anyway? Look for that municipal budget line to come under attack from the tax scolds, if it hasn’t already. Why are you wasting my hard-earned dollars on stickers for old people? Can’t they re-use the ones they kept from 1948? This is robbery!

Where’s the delight, the whimsy, and the outright fun in voting?

It appears to have moved online, where it is always Election Day.

Just yesterday, I elected to endorse a new Ice Cream flavor that I may someday have the opportunity to eat. Beth-Ann’s idea for Mini-sota Donut Ice Cream is before the electorate right now and they payoff could appear in my local freezer case by next year. In terms of how things move politically, that would be a speed-of-lightning result. Already it’s more satisfying than my vote for McGovern in 1972. And in the Ice Cream Election, you get to leave comments when you vote – something we won’t be able to do in the margins surrounding those Constitutional Amendments without spoiling the ballot.

Another online electoral process I’ve enjoyed lately is the opportunity to send Target Gift Cards to schools. Each Facebook “like” equals one dollar. Every group of 25 “likes” releases a $25 gift card and you get the chance to vote once a week between now and September 8. Each school is limited to a total haul of ten thousand dollars, but so far no one is close. The leading school so far (a faith-based Pennsylvania Prep Academy) is just over 800. My personal choice is Craigmont High, a public high school in Memphis, Tennessee, where my son Gus will start work as a math teacher this Monday morning. They’ve just earned their first gift card – enough for six 12-count boxes of Crayola Erasable Twist Colored Pencils.

If these ideas seem too frivolous, you can always direct resources to famine relief in Africa by taking a moment to “like” the two-person Olympic team from Somalia. Both members of the squad lost their races yesterday to people who didn’t have to train on city streets pockmarked by explosion craters. But their participation in London means you still have the opportunity to vote for humanitarian aid with the click of a mouse.

Remarkable.

How would you change Election Day to make it more engaging and fun?

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73 thoughts on “Vote for Me! Like Me!”

  1. it is interesting that election day is so sacred that we cant exploit it with something like free drinks or candy bars at the polling place but we can spend 100s of millions of dollars to get our opinions out and in everyone’s face as often as we want if there are no free drinks involved at the polling place on election day. wouldn’t it be nice if we could all vote like we live. we gather in our groups daily and do what we do. the opinions may vary but they vary consistently and we have all learned to tolerate that. i think target who has done a nice job portraying themselves as the giving community partner, could put on an after election extravaganza where it allowed you to get the $1 sent to where you want to send it to for voting. my kids would do it if we could do it on facebook, they would likely brag about their involvement online and encourage other facebook friends to do the same. my son who is back form his recent move to california to participate in his sisters wedding discovered the guy he moved in with in caifornia is a heavy duty chrisitan who proclaims the gop platform against gays is as it say it should be in the bible. i told him its a big bad world out there but you dont have to sit in the middle of a pool of crap because its the first place you stop. he tells me they do have political discussions ( mostly from on high by the evangelist) but my son has strong lgbt opinions of his own which are there to keep it all in perspective. maybe a voting block party where the potluck theme is carried out and pesto/whatever there is in november could be set on the table at community gathering places to party down and watch the results come in. i personally hate churches as the voting places and think they should be banned from options as voting centers. i see st joan just uninvited mark ritchie from speaking because he doesnt agree with the archbishops view on gay marrige. balderdash and shame on the archbishop. st joans unite and strike back.
    how to make it more fun??? i was at a deal where when you went in and gave the person at the counter your name. they handed it off to a person who then started applauding and cheering with a group of appreciative sidemen yeah timmmmmmmmm!!!! and i got to bow and acknowledge the welcome to the event. felt funny but good. now here is your 1 dollar ticket to donate to your cause of choice by the end of the day on facebook at the target site and have a nice day. that or go the other way and let people vote at home in the privacy and comfort of their real surroundings. you could set up a baboon votong board and have a check mark saying i voted (minne sota donuts and barack obama) and a swell greeting from all the other voting folks in your life.
    gus is rolling in tennesee… i vote for his school. i am a big fan of the crayola 64 with the pencil sharpener on the back. some things cant be improved on.
    i got my call to go do wedding stuff so i am gone for the day. will check back tomorrow.

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    1. Tim, St Joan’s didn’t uninvite Mark Ritchie. We rescheduled him for after the election when his message on democracy will still ring true but the haters won’t be around to fuss about it. Life is truly a balance beam routine.
      Wishing the bride and groom and their families a landslide victory and a lifetime term!

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      1. ‘…Nothing stupid… but something funny…’– Now that’s good advice I haven’t heard phrased quite that way before.
        I fully agree. Have fun tim!

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        1. A tim-ism inspired by my increasingly strong desire to have my Lyndale Ave bridge back. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. ;)

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  2. I vote for Sherrilee to have a grand birthday. Happy birthday vs, kick up your heels and have a great day.

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    1. Thanks! I’m on a mission today to use up all the coupons that have been sent for my birthday (free coffee at Caribou, free pastry at Panera, free lunch at Noodles, free dessert at Ben & Jerry’s…..).

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        1. Is this true, Linda? Free pie on your birthday? (I’m always try to get some good freebies on or around my birthday. I have been stymied by the “buy one entree, get one free” coupon from Prima…it’s hard to eat two entrees by myself.

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      1. HIPY PAPY BTHUTHDTH THUTHDA BTHUTHDY!
        Sounds like you plan to spend it well. Lots of options for entertainment this weekend – art fairs and Fringe among them.
        I love the idea of your coupon splurge.

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  3. Good morning. Voting for candidates that are only there because they can get the big bucks to run their campaigns from rich supporters takes most of the fun out of voting. Could we have a place on the ballot where we could indicate that we only voted for someone because they are the least offensive of two bad choices?

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    1. How about some candidates that are fun people? For instance, when I saw Dale’s title “Vote for me! like me!” I thought I would be glad to vote for Dale.

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  4. OT – just caught up with yesterday afternoon’s trail. American Swedish Institute is one of the museums that are part of the Hennepin Library museum program. Field trip to see the tapestries anyone?

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    1. I’ll be going back this coming Wednesday evening with a couple of friends, but I’m open to going with the baboons as well. It really is a magnificent exhibit (and the FIKA restaurant is a treat!).

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  5. I think a good first step would be to quite trying to put more hurdles in the way of voting. Then maybe everyone gets a (non-latex) balloon – not just a sticker, but a balloon proclaiming they voted. I don’t know that moving to the weekend would help since so many folks work on the weekend or have kid events on Saturdays (and woe betide the legislator that would try to get Sunday voting past the ultra-religious…probably ditto for Saturday with select portions of the Jewish community). National holiday? People would just picnic or drink beer on a boat and ignore voting – though maybe if we could turn it into something where you vote and then join an on-going picnic with your neighbors and community after you vote. It would have to be BYO to avoid money and politics infiltrating the picnic, but let the kids run around, play on the slides, blow bubbles. It could be a win-win: voting gets to be a fun event and folks would get to know their neighbors better, too, which is always good.

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    1. I like this idea. People could get better acquainted with their neighbors and discuss their views in a relaxed atmosphere. Am I being too optimistic?

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    2. R and S Baboons!

      Vote first. Produce proof to employer, then you get the day off to party and watch results. Or ignore them if your candidate is losing.

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  6. There should be a dance leader (probably rotating dance leaders to prevent exhaustion) leading line dances all day long. After voting, people could join in for as long as they wanted. Then they could leave happy even if some of the choices they had to make were depressing ones.

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    1. P.S. I was very interested in recent topics but was too busy to respond or even READ.
      RE: cereal – my historical favorite was Concentrate, a weird cereal that came in a box with gold wrapping paper. A serving was 1/4 cup (who ever ate only 1/4 cup of cereal?). I googled it once and found a number of people who remembered it fondly.
      Currently, I eat Total in the weeks before donating blood to help raise my feeble hemoglobin. My hot cereal is a combo of rolled oats and Wheatena (difficult to find, these days).
      I was once playing Balderdash (Dictionary to you purist-no-board-needed types) and one of the words we had to define was “tussah”. Wasband’s definition was “a hot cereal made by cooking together multiple grains”. I knew it was his definition and I still think of my cereal melange by that name. (Tussah actually means “an Oriental silkworm that produces a brownish silk”)

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  7. I work as an election judge. Since I work in our township we know most of the people who vote and it’s really kind of a social day. Depending how busy it is determines how much we can talk with the neighbors.
    I would guess 75% of people take an “I Voted” sticker. But we give a lot to little kids and that’s always fun. (We learn at judge training NOT to put the sticker on people; offer it to them.)
    Sometimes people will bring us cookies. Once we got Dilly bars!

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    1. One of the election judges at my old polling place was a very senior alley neighbor. They’ve since changed my polling place (twice now), and he no longer works as a judge, which makes me sad, as I also no longer see him tooling down the alley in his truck. Wonder how he is doing.

      They used to give out candy at our polling place, but that ended with the first change of location-I suppose those Hersey minis were considered illegal.

      Every single time I go to vote, I remember the primary on 9/11/01, and how the poll judges just had to sit there, unable to check the news for themselves-and how incredibly quiet the playground at the school was that afternoon. Usually, there were planes roaring overhead.

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      1. I was a judge for that primary. Leaving at the end of the day, I had an eerie sense of the world having been replaced with a different one since I went into the building that morning. I went with the head judge to deliver the canvas bags to city hall, and we passed a gas station on Wabasha Street that had cars lined up around the block waiting to get gas – everyone was panicked that there would be shortages. When we got to City Hall they had just installed the metal detectors at the entrance during the day.

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  8. I think the idea of a neighborhood, or precinct, potluck is great. Go through the voting process and cast your vote, then head to the neighborhood park for a big potluck. Kids would be running around outside, potluck foods would be lined up on picnic tables, grills would be sizzling, dogs playing … oh that’s right, the election is in November. Maybe we should move election day to a summer evening! If we made it a Friday evening and turned it into the social event of the year, more people would show up in a more relaxed and tolerant frame of mind. Live music would be great. Local musicians might be willing to play for food and whatever cash shows up in a tin cup or hat. A street dance would be great fun too. Or, teenagers could be given the challenge of putting on a play before the end of the evening.The relaxed atmosphere would be a perfect place to exchange views the way you would exchange recipes, taking the animosity and fear out of the conversation. Is this even possible?

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    1. 1st weekend in september i vote for that. bon fires in the street on the corner with a little neighborhood a capella singing. if i had a hammer…

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  9. Thanks for all the great birthday wishes. Two coupons down – heading out right now for the other two! Received two cookbooks from the Teenager and the Comcast guy fixed the cable. All is good with my world!

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    1. Glad to hear that the teenager and the cable guy went in together on the cookbooks. I rely too heavily on punctuation to understand the world :)

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  10. I vote that everyone take in a Fringe show or two. I’m up to six. Some were so-so but a couple of clear winners – Fear Factor: The Canine Edition “The true story of a man and his dog. Facing his ultimate fears… love, loss… and dog yoga” What a great storyteller!
    Also A Cappella Love (spelling sic) – “The romance! The passion! The brazen innuendo…all without instrumental accompaniment! A cast of eight explores (through song, dance, and comedy) falling in, being in, and falling out of – what else? – love.”
    Both highly recommended.

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  11. I’ve been in Iowa this weekend visiting mother and brother. It rained in Iowa where there is a big drought. The rain they had was not enough to counteract the Big Dry.

    Happy B-day VS. tim, I hope the wedding was fun, fun, fun and a big celebration.

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  12. We could ask Al Franken to draft some legislation that would add a humorist’s touch to voting. I’m sure he could come up with something. How about humorous entertainment of some kind near the voting area or a gag gift for those who vote. How about giving everyone who votes a whoopee cushion?

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  13. Not about voting – but finally a sunshiny day where I don’t lose a gallon of body fluid an hour just from standing outside – yay! I’m going to walk to the Powderhorn Art Festival late this morning and look around. I won’t stop at the jewelry booths, but I hope to find a small birthday gift for my friend in Vermont and also say Hi to Betsy Bowen (wouldn’t be surprised if the greeting and the purchase of the gift happened in the same booth). Almost every year I forget to go to this, so I’m so glad I remembered it this year – posting it here on Friday helped me remember it today. Have a great day, Baboons, and enjoy the weather.

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    1. Husband and I went yesterday afternoon. Made it half-way around the lake, before I conked out and had to be hauled out of there.

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        1. glad you are working your way back up to health after the horrible fall last winter. much better than staying home because it might hurt. your recovery has been inspirational. and full of fun stuff. swedish institute and 2nd and 3rd time. wlaks farmers market. a model baboon.

          say ask hans if he is ready for the beer payment on the plywood shelf consultation job out in my garage l.p. playing area sometime here in the coming months.

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  14. happy belated birthday vs. i will remember your birthday forever now. my daughters anniversary, was my parents anniversary. ( my mom wore the anniversary dress she had fashioned out of her wedding dress for their 50th) dad died a couple years ago but she still celebrates that yesterday would have been their 61st. she said then she adds 4 years the total for the courtship. i told her you are getting really old if you add 4 years to your 61 and tell me you were 17 when you started that dating. she hasnt dated since she was 17 65 years ago, no wonders she giggles and is a little flustered when she talks about the guys hitting on her at the old folks co op she lives at now. her picture along with the wedding party on the facebook page my young family added ac uple of wedding pictures to. i should learn how to do that too.
    daughters wedding was perfect. the gray morning skies left in the nick of time just before the photogtrapher showed up at 130. daughter and wedding party didnt show up until 230. the photographer was a nice guy form south of mankato who came up for the iday and stayed until midnight. long day and then a drive back. i felt sorry for him because he was one of those guys who sweats and the sun for our beautiful wedding photos turned him into a perspiration stain. the photos were fun and took all the way until the wedding, my sister did the service. she has some kind of a mail order preachers liscence and she did a real nice job (shed like me to say she is real spiritual i suppose) and the ceremony was wonderful. got in on video and we will see if i can hear anything over the fountain that trickled loud enough to make my head strain to hear the vows.
    back to the home base at the top of the hill (it was in a beautiful edina city garden park museum set up where we were able to a formal garden complete with gazebo in case of rain . an area for the receprtion with a kitchen indoor shindig area and patio where the tent sound system and hanging lanterns for the evening activities kicked in after the barbque beer and wine got off an running. the toasts and dances were wonderful, my son and brother both performed on guitar and sang before the hip hop 20 something bang bang bang took over the dance floor and we drank all but 4 beers on hand. too much wine, pop, water purchased but guessed right on the beer.
    i vote to have a wedding party with each voting day. celebrate someones wedding day, anyones pick them at random and have a community wedding/election day festivity to make it memorable and we could have bipartisan pac money cover the cost. that would make voting fun.

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        1. I was tempted to change my name temporarily to Blue Doily the other day, but I know too much about how WP works. If I give it an alternative name, its gonna run with that no matter what I say later to change it.

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  15. congratulations to familia tim and Happy Birthday Weekend to Sherrilee!!!

    Big news in our household was the US Women’s Epee Team winning bronze yesterday. Without any sort of planning or scheduling, the s&h got to his aunt’s house in Madison in time to see the medal bout. I don’t know how he does it, I really don’t.

    Maybe that is what we need on election day, a good old fashioned contest between the two candidates.

    Chess or hoops, I have a feeling I know who would win this year’s match-up.

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