Dazzled by elegant democracy

With election day closing in, polls are already open for early voters. Yesterday I accompanied a friend who voted at an early voting center on the University of Texas at Austin campus.

I even signed in as an “assistant” whereby I was allowed to go up to the computer screen with my friend to assist but  not intervene in the democratic process.

It was a pleasant surprise that non-Americans are allowed to be assistants–it’s the closest I’ve come to engaging in a democratic system one is shut out of as a non-citizen.

The only down side was that, apparently, I proved a very annoying assistant and had to be told to shut up a number of times. But there were so many choices and some pretty important ones.

The scope of the ballot was dazzling. After the big one: choice of president, there were potential senators, nominations for the Supreme Court, new city legislation; it was all there. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see the choice of should the Texas governor part his hair on the right side or the left side.

Neither my friend nor I knew anything about most offered but it was still impressive to see how much influence is offered to the American voter to have his or her say.

Lady liberty seemed stronger that day.

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