Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The American Vote in Argentina

Today I went to the U.S. embassy to cast my vote for president. It was a large party from 9am to 12pm that involved lines, food, and confusion. McDonalds and Starbucks had tables, a band played, there were news cameras and members of study abroad programs.

Figuring out how to vote was quite a challenge, though the event was well staffed and the set up facilitated voting and even last minute registration. There wasn't any material with the names of candidates, there wasn't any instruction as to where to go to cast your ballot, there were no visuals and few posted signs. People didn't talk to one another to find out what the line they were in was really for. It was a disconnected scene with crowds of strangers but it was exciting being a part of the voting process (hopefully, if the ballots are in fact received and counted).

My friend and I got out our New York methods of doing business and got through the process quickly enough. The process involved the following:

1. Wait in line to enter the embassy (one hour wait at 9:30am)
2. Go through security (they never checked my ID but did take my phone and camera)
3. Get inside and look for the voting station after making your way through the food
4. Get a write-in ballot, again without showing ID
5. Write your address, social, etc on a form. Write the name of the president and vice president on a second page. Wish that you knew the names of the congress members you'd like to vote for and leave that pathetically blank (like every other person in there).

The highlight of the event was hearing a woman ask a volunteer for the spelling of Sarah Palin's name. The lowpoint was looking at that woman and thinking that she has no idea what she's doing.

That was the general feeling inside the consulate, that we the people haven't a clue. It was as messy a scene as the Argentine traffic outside on the street. My friend and I left, went down to the subway, and got on with our day.

1 comment:

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