What’s in a name?

November 21, 2006 by  
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Ashgrove State School, mentioned yesterday, is set up for use on polling days for elections. As I happened to be living nearby for a few months when I was 20, I meandered down the street on the Saturday election morning and into the school grounds.

Having run the gauntlet of oppositional volunteers waving how-to-vote pamphlets at me, I approached the second wave of volunteers, this time sitting at desks checking voter registration. My intense concentration on the next hurdle made me feel like I was in slow motion when, clearly a few seconds later, my brain registered that someone had just said my name.

I glanced around, not immediately recognising anyone, before noticing a stationary figure amongst the moving people, his eyes definitely looking at me.

I studied the shaven head and familiar goatee – a small, blonde, triangle that clung to the chin. “Mr Welsh?” I queried.

After a brief conversation, the contents of which I’ve entirely forgotten, I cast my vote and was on my merry way. I was thoroughly impressed that my teacher from the one year at Ashgrove, in Grade 5 when I was 10 years old, recognised me and knew me by name 10 years later.

On a related tangent, something I’d never thought of before writing this post is that the school’s acronym is particularly unfortunate. I don’t remember it ever being an issue when I was in Grade 5, when quite clearly it should have been a running joke for the school’s entire history.

President ’08 – Decided

November 20, 2006 by  
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The poll for President of the United States, 2008, has closed. I was one of the four who had already voted, but the ballot needed to be decided, so I cast a second deciding vote. It wasn’t the same as my first vote, but if exit polls at the earley edition are anything to go by, and I assure you they are, Oprah Winfrey will lead the United States forward after the 2008 elections!

Here are the final results


Presidential Elections ’08

November 17, 2006 by  
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Voting is still open for President of the United States, 2008 (see the sidebar). Currently four votes have been counted, one each going to Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, John Edwards and Oprah Winfrey. It’s starting to look like a Democratic candidate runoff, but they’ve all demanded a recount.

Cast your vote today! Polling closes Sunday night.

Things aren’t Kewell

November 4, 2006 by  
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This is an old link I saved to my drafts, and just thought I’d put it out there. Despite his chronic injuries, and the news that he could be out of action for at least another four months, not many people are willing to suggest that Harry Kewell’s value is dropping.

Based on this story, I would be surprised if Kewell plays for Liverpool again. They would have to really want to keep him since he’s been out for so long. I predict a move, maybe even in the next tansfer window.

Don’t forget to vote for the next US President, either in the post below, or in the sidebar on the right!


November 2, 2006 by  
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It’s that time again, and while I only recently returned a vote to the US for some county school board decision, yesterday I sent off my sheet for the November 7 elections. Actually, Iowa isn’t being contested for the senate, but they packed the ballot card with other votes.

I voted for: US Representative District 4, Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor of State, Treasurer of State, Secretary of Agriculture, Attorney General, State Representative District 7, County Treasurer, County Recorder, County Attorney, County Public Hospital Trustees, Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioner, County Agricultural Extension Council, Court of Appeals Judges, District Court Judge and District Associate Judge. They also tried to get that sneaky school funding proposal through again with different wording.

I actually don’t know anything about that school funding proposal, just as I don’t know anything about the people running for the positions mentioned above, but I voted against it anyway.

As always, I hope my vote gets there in time for November 7! There was a short story recently in the International Herald Tribune about the difficulties overseas voters face.

And while we’re at it, why not produce a quick poll here? It has nothing to do with the current elections, which are senate elections, but if you could, who would you vote for as President of the United States in the 2008 elections? If you’re interested, you can find some more information about a few of these people (the real potentials) by following the link above to the potential candidates for 2008.



Fondness of Absence

September 25, 2006 by  
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Whether in the military or registered as a citizen abroad, Americans get their ARMED SERVICES OR OVERSEAS BALLOT sent to them in the mail.

Often when I get these ballots there is no way to return them by the election date, since international postage delivery times don’t seem to be taken into account when they send them in the first place. And they tell me, in the material included, that whether or not you vote, it’s illegal not to return the ballot.

So I pay the $1.85 international postage and dutifully put in my votes for sheriff, county auditor, and town school board, to name the few I vaguely remember. I have no way of knowing the people I’m expected to choose between, they’re just text on a ballot slip as far as I’m concerned. They could just as well put Mickey Mouse down as a candidate for all I care. But I know Mickey Mouse – so I’d probably vote for him.

So there’s absentee ballots by mail-in, but what’s next? Electronic touch screen was used in the last presidential election, and I can imagine online voting being used in the future. Apart from security issues to do with the possibility of hacking an election – and that’s probably the biggest issue I have – I’m also worried about perceived affiliations. Just because I voted for someone once doesn’t guarantee my vote for life.

I first registered to vote for the presidential election between John Kerry and George W. Bush – 2004. It just so happened that I registered through a Democrat-affiliated organisation that was trying to mobilise the international American community. I didn’t count on the town school board being thrown into this voting bargain.

I don’t really have any concrete political affiliations. I wouldn’t vote Republican simply for the fact that they are not Democrat, or vice versa. The same goes for my Australian voting habits in relation to Labor, Liberal, Democrat, Family First, Greens or an independent.

I would argue I vote with my conscience, having taken into consideration the facts (as tenuous as that term in politics might be) as they present themselves. That’s the way democracy should work if you believe the public should actually understand the issues their vote affects. If not, then continuously voting for one particular party without care or consideration for ambiguous personal beliefs, like ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, is the way to go!

But that’s just me, and everyone brings their own ideas to the conversation. I’ll come back to online voting, and my secondary issue with it – affiliation. My point is somewhat lost, since my main example that follows isn’t online or electronic voting as such, but I’ll finish anyway.

I received an email from President Jimmy Carter three days ago. He asked me to go visit a website and request my own absentee ballot online, so I could submit it on time and guarantee my vote is counted.

To quote the beginning and end:

Dear Fellow Democrat,

On November 7, Americans throughout our land will vote in mid-term elections for the House and Senate.


Thank you for doing your part to ensure a brighter future for America in the world.

President Jimmy Carter

Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to make sure my vote counts, but perhaps ‘Dear Fellow Concerned Citizen’ would have been more appropriate.

I’m not Democrat or Republican, Labor or Liberal; I’m a concerned citizen with the unique privilege of having the opportunity to exercise my democratic right in two different countries at the same time. So don’t count on my association with, or support for, any one party. I reserve the right to cross the floor, in any direction I choose, to cast a conscience vote as and when necessary.