The US Mid-terms

Wow has there been a lot of hype about this! I’ve tried to avoid it but my news feeds keep filling up with crap about the Democrats and Republicans blah blah. While the activities of another nation’s voting doesn’t directly impact my day to day life, it will have a longer term impact on Australia – so I guess I should pay a bit of attention?

The stand out for me has been how disastrous the voting has been in some places – broken voting machines, no power for others, long queues of people eventually turning away and the underlying message that certain groups only want certain other groups to vote. It is a stark contrast to here in Australia where you have to vote. It’s a legal requirement and we get fined if we don’t. The last few times I’ve voted have been straightforward and easy, folks handing out “How to vote” pamphlets for their candidate and with our preferential system in place – it’s a mixed bag of results! But it was fairly straightforward, required and the Australian Electoral Commission makes it that way to get as high a percentage in there as possible. Maybe the US needs to have a look at this – change the way they do it nationally – because it seems like there is a lot of wasted and replicated effort across the country – and get every single registered voter in there.

While I have on occasion been irritated at having to vote – it is my civic duty and a right to be able to do so and I can’t see ever giving it up. Indeed, I’ve had heated discussions with people criticising the government at the time – people who REFUSE to vote – about these people either putting up or shutting up. Vote or STFU essentially. Don’t like the candidates? Do a false vote – they count too – enough false ones starts to send a message about the candidates and the AEC look at this carefully. Maybe the US needs an AEC – an impartial, unimpeachable (or as much as possible) group to oversee these things. It’s a bit like the Australian Tax Office – we don’t *like* it, but we know we can trust that it’s operating in the best interests of Australian Citizens – it’s a very important part of their business.

Do you reckon anyone really trusts the US government and their state governments to have fair and impartial, fully inclusive for all citizen activities? I’m not 100% convinced of this in Australia, but I’m a lot more confident of it here than I would be over there.

Good luck to them all – let’s hope for a return to some stability in one of our country’s largest partners.

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