Election Day Post and Open Thread

So, this morning I’m off to vote and then spend nine straight hours working for Get Out The Vote, doing whatever they need me to do. I don’t live in a swing state, but I do care about the senate and congressional races, as well as the gubernatorial race and local races. I honestly think these races get ignored too often.

Politically, I am a social democrat. This means I don’t really have a political party in this country, or at least not one large enough to have a lot of influence at this point. Given that the Democratic Party comes the closest to my political views, and the fact that the Republican Party has gone off the rails on a number of issues lately, it should be pretty obvious which candidates I end up pulling for.

This year the issues I feel most deeply about include women’s reproductive rights, marriage equality, healthcare, and the separation of church and state. I also care deeply about reforming and improving our nation’s social safety net, and about some things that rarely get mentioned, such as reforming our justice and prison systems.

It should come as no surprise that I will be voting for Barack Obama. I voted for him four years ago as well, and believe me, that was quite the step at the time!

So. Go vote! And then come back here and talk politics. :-P

The unBiblical Tea Party Christian
When Men Wax Poetic about My Womb
Dismantling Prejudice and Misconceptions
My Kindergartener Knows What It Means to Be Transgender (and the Sky Hasn't Fallen)
About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Gordon

    I’m hoping so hard that the USA doesn’t let the rest of us down today!

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      Hear hear!

  • fwtbc

    Watching from over the pond. Don’t even live there and I’m terrified.

    • Little Magpie

      Watching from across the Great Lakes (ie in Canada), and ditto. If Romney wins I am moving out of the solar system.

  • hannahbanana

    My husband and I have thoroughly hashed it out over the past few months, and we disagree on almost every main issue this election. By disagree, I mean that we have different issues that we consider The Most Important, and therefore “Voting Issues”. When we realized that our votes would just cancel each other out, we decided not to even bother, and instead have a pizza party & “How I Met Your Mother” marathon tonight and check the news tomorrow to see how things shook out.

  • dj pomegranate

    I voted! My polling place is a block from my apartment and I thought I was being super smart by showing up early. The line was an hour long already…! BUT THERE WERE NO STICKERS. I really wanted a sticker.

    Go vote, everyone!

    • http://www.lonestaronalark.com/ looloolooweez

      I am still upset that I didn’t get a sticker during early voting! Because otherwise, what is the point? (No, really — I’m a blue-ish girl in a super duper red state, so even though I feel obligated to vote because of the struggles of women in the past to gain that right, just about the only thing I have to really show for it is the “I Voted” sticker. I want my damn sticker.)

  • http://www.texannewyorker.com jwall915

    I voted this morning!! I voted for Obama. And Libby Anne, I can totally identify with you when you said that voting for Obama in 2008 was a big step. For me, the big step was moving from a state that doesn’t register political parties to a state that does make you pick your party registration. I sat with the form for a good 20 minutes before nervously checking Democrat. And lightening did not strike me down! Everyone get out and vote!

    • Karen

      Wow, you HAVE to pick a political party? That’s so unfair!

      • machintelligence

        Actually, you can register as an independent, but then you are not allowed to vote in the primary elections. It is no big deal to switch parties, either.

  • lucifermourning

    i voted! by which i mean, i e-mailed my ballot in yesterday.

    i never have voted in person – between attending university out of state and moving overseas after graduation, i’ve never been in my home state on voting day.

    (never changed residency during university because i went to uni in DC and didn’t particularly want to give up my congressional representation).

  • That Other Jean

    Both my husband and I have voted, and have the stickers to prove it! And I voted as a Democrat, which I have since I turned 21–back in the Dark Ages, when that was voting age–and voted for George McGovern, may he rest in peace. No lightning yet.

  • Emma

    Voted absentee a week ago. I’m from Maryland, so I got to vote for marriage equality and for a state-level version of the DREAM act. Fingers crossed that my state is the first one to have marriage equality pass a popular vote.

  • H

    Voted absentee by drop box over the weekend… Here’s hoping CA repeals the death penalty! It’s barbaric and it costs too much!
    I would also like to see the re-enfranchisement of former prisoners. They’ve served their time.

  • Stony

    Husband and I ordered absentee ballots a couple of weeks ago and so glad we did. Eleven long, drawn out amendments on the ballot and no way to quickly know what a “yes” vote meant versus a “no” vote. No wonder Fla has such crazy wait times this year.

  • ArachneS

    Voting for Obama 4 years ago was a huge step for me too! :) I had voted for Ron Paul in the republican primaries earlier that year, so you can imagine what the internal process was within those months in between. That was the first presidential election I voted in, and even though I had given the whole election a ton of thought before I voted, I still was afraid that family or relatives would ask/find out that I voted Democrat. While I was certain my reasons for my vote, I was not prepared to go up against the family’s condemnation.

  • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

    Just voted! This is my second general election, but my first non-absentee, and it was exciting! It felt like we were all part of a big community project.

  • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

    This is the first time I’ve been able to vote in the US, and my local polling place is my apartment complex, so I made sure to exercise that particular right.

  • jose

    I really hope we see America out of Afghanistan in 2014.

  • http://jw-thoughts.blogspot JW

    My precinct was very busy. I was in and out in about 20 minutes? Funny, up until yesterday I only saw 3 Obama signs in the neighborhood. This morning I woke up to find 3 Obama signs within 4 houses of me. I found it amusing. I wonder how long they will keep it up?
    I will be watching a Congressional race for Florida. Bill Nelson and Connie Mack. I voted for Bill Nelson and I predict he wins in a landslide.

    My wife voted for the 2nd time since becoming a U.S. citizen. She became a citizen on our anniversary a few years ago. How weird is that?

  • http://dream-wind.livejournal.com Christine

    I hope this comment doesn’t come across as insulting, but I have to say something.

    As an extremely interested observer in Australia, I think your voting “system” is so idiotic and screwed up it would be funny if the outcome wasn’t so significant. After all, this election will decide who is your head of state and government. So why, in the names of any Gods who might be listening, is THERE NOT A SINGLE BODY IN CHARGE OF OVERSEEING THE ELECTION ACROSS THE WHOLE COUNTRY?! Elected party officials running the vote? Who but the blinkered can not see this is a system rife for at least allegations of corruption? And then all the different ways of casting – paper forms, scanners, machines that change your vote for you… seriously, this is no way to run a democracy. And what’s this queuing for hours on a work day all about? Are they trying to stop people from attending?

    In Australia, we have the Australian Electoral Commission, a bureaucracy that oversees all elections at all levels. There is one form for the Lower House (the House of Representatives) and one form for the Upper House (the Senate). All across Australia, the papers have exactly the same layout and you cast the vote in exactly the same way. The only thing that changes is the name of the local seat, and the ames of the candidates. If you aren’t sure of what to do, there are trained officials who will tell you what to do. Our elections are always on a Saturday, and public buildings, like schools, are always the polling stations, so there’s no confusion as to where you’re supposed to go. You turn up, an official checks your name off the electoral roll, and hands you your papers.

    The longest I’ve ever had to wait to vote was 20 mintues – and don’t forget, we have compulsory attendance at voting. You don’t have to actually cast a vote – you can hand in blank voting papers if you want, so long as your name is checked off the roll.

    • spidergal

      While I perhaps wouldn’t have been quite as…forthright as Christine (lol) I must say that US politics is a bit of a black box to us aussies – We were all watching various news sites at work today and none of us had the same numbers at any one time?! Florida was particularly funny to watch! Can anyone explain the concept of the electoral college as well cause that one just spins me out – And how often do you vote? Is it 4 years for the senate and every 2 for the House of reps?
      I am sure to you guys AU politics is just as strange – But it is easier just going to the AEC website for all the numbers rather than relying on somewhat partisan news channels!

      • machintelligence

        And how often do you vote? Is it 4 years for the senate and every 2 for the House of reps?

        House seats are all up for vote every two years, while Senators serve for six years with only one third up for election in any election cycle. This means that some states were not voting for a Senator this year.
        Each state gets to send a number of electors (equal to the number of Senators plus Representatives) to the electoral college. Usually the state group votes as a block in a winner of the popular vote in the state takes all manner, but this is up to the state. If there is no majority winner in the electoral college it gets complicated. See:

    • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

      “And what’s this queuing for hours on a work day all about?”

      Well, the twelve-page-long ballots (See: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/11/06/five-of-the-most-confusing-ballot-measures-in-america/ ) don’t help. And with all the ‘voter fraud’ and misinformation weirdness that’s been going on, I think stopping people from voting is indeed part of the plan.

      • http://dream-wind.livejournal.com Christine

        I have to confess, I keep forgetting there were a lot of plebiscites in some states. This is one area where the US system trumps the Australian system – very rarely do we get asked to vote directly on policy. I do wish we did – same-sex marraige would have been long implemented if we were.

  • http://dream-wind.livejournal.com/ Christine

    Antony Green on the ABC has never been able to explain the electoral college… and seeing as he can even explain how the voting to elect the Senate works, if he can’t explain the electoral college, no one can. What really got me was the ridiculous methods of casting the vote. And the queues! Ye gods, if we had queues like that with compulsory attendance, there’d be bloodshed. Come to think of it, compulsory attendance is possibly why the voting is so comparatively efficient here.

    (For anyone who doesn’t get the reference to compulsory attendance. It’s a big misconception that voting in Australia is compulsory. It’s not – TURNING UP TO VOTE, that’s what’s compulsory. You can write crap all over your voting sheets, or hand them back blank if you want, so long as you turn up and get your name marked off. I think it’s an excellent system but then I’m a rabid socialist who doesn’t mind a healthy level of government “interference” in the running of the country.)

    • machintelligence

      (For anyone who doesn’t get the reference to compulsory attendance. It’s a big misconception that voting in Australia is compulsory. It’s not – TURNING UP TO VOTE, that’s what’s compulsory. You can write crap all over your voting sheets, or hand them back blank if you want, so long as you turn up and get your name marked off.

      How is that functionally different from not showing up at the polls? And what is the penalty for refusing to attend?

      • http://dream-wind.livejournal.com Christine

        If you don’t show up, you get fined. It’s not a huge fine – I think about $50 – $100.

        In recent elections at all levels, there has been a growing percentage of people taking the fine rather than showing up to vote, as a protest to the government. This really annoys me, because taking a few minutes out of your day to get your name ticked off a roll is not too much of an imposition, I feel. And if the non-attendees I know are anything to go by, they are the ones who bitch the most about “they should be doing THIS and they shouldn’t be doing THAT.”

      • spidergal

        Functionality I guess it really isn’t much different however because of the compulsory voting culture in this country I think more people get involved cause they know they have to turn up and get their names marked off anyways. If we didn’t have compulsory voting in this country I doubt most people would vote – We tend to be a little apathetic in relation to politics until it immediately affects us. Because everyone votes the process is much more streamlined over here to make it easier. Correct me if I am wrong but it seems that you have to turn up to a particular polling place to vote? (I was reading some stuff about people being “forced” to vote in churches). We can attend any polling booth in our electorate which will generally give us a choice of maybe 4 odd places to go (More or less depending on the population of the electorate) so if one is busy you can pick another (I tend to go for churches as no one else will go there lol). It also means we vote on Saturday so many more people can attend their own polling places but if you are working or out of town you can do an absentee vote which is quite easy to do.
        There is a nominal fine if you don’t vote (about $150 or something like that) and if you have a good reason for not voting then you can get out of it (One offs like I was in hospital are fine and also certain religious creeds like Witnesses can get out of it too). Sometimes they just don’t catch you as well. I forgot to vote in a state election one year cause I was moving house that day and never got a fine.
        I love the fact that you guys get to have referendums as part of the process though – There has been one referendum here in my lifetime (I am 31) and that was regarding whether we wanted to stay in the commonwealth. Like Christine said if we got to vote on things like same sex marriage laws then they would already be in place here.

      • http://dream-wind.livejournal.com Christine

        Spidergal, spidergal, you forgot the referendum to include Little Johnny’s preamble in the Constitution, which we voted for at the same time as the republic question!

        I remember Little Johnny’s celebratory barbeque when the republic vote was defeated – and his hissy fit when his preamble got rejected by a huge margin.

      • spidergal

        This is true lol. Silly fellow should never start something with “With hope in God”! It must be about time for them to run that referendum again – I doubt we would be part of the commonwealth if they did it now…
        Meanwhile hard core republicans want to move to Australia now Obama got back in??? Which bit of “Female, unmarried, childless, atheist Prime Minister” did they miss? I am dead curious to know who these idiots actually think is in charge?!?

  • Caroline

    So same-sex couples are now treated equally under the law in Maryland in terms of marriage. This is my home state, I have never lived anywhere else. I am overjoyed. I cried last night when the results came in. Even though I probably will end up marrying a man, this means so much to me. Maybe someday our great nation will recognize that the love between same-sex couples is the same as everyone else’s.

  • lucrezaborgia


    In an Associated Press interview on Wednesday, Johnson said he hoped he would be able to work with Baldwin in the Senate — as soon as he explained the “facts” of the budget to her.

    “Hopefully I can sit down and lay out for her my best understanding of the federal budget because they’re simply the facts,” he said. “Hopefully she’ll agree with what the facts are and work toward common sense solutions.”

    “I was a double major in college in mathematics and political science, and I served for six years on the House Budget Committee in my first six years in the House,” Baldwin responded in an interview with The Huffington Post on Friday.

    “And I am very confident that when proposals come before the U.S. Senate, I will be able to evaluate them as to how they benefit or harm middle-class Wisconsinites. A yardstick of ‘does it create jobs,’ ‘does it lower the deficit’ and ‘does it help grow the middle class’ is an important one. I’m quite confident that I have those abilities,” she added.

    Baldwin has served in Congress since 1999; Johnson took office in 2011.

    Paternalism much?!?