Friday, October 24, 2008

Doing My Civic Duty in Sweden

You may have heard about the United States Presidential Election. The main contest is coming down to Barack Obama and John McCain. There hasn’t been all that much press about it really. Some of my more international friends may have missed the whole George Bush leaving office thing and someone else taking over. It’s so hard sometimes to get a feel for how Europeans feel about the Bush years. They tend to keep their opinions about the US to themselves.

That’s not true. I lied. Europeans are anxiously awaiting the end of, what they see as, the disastrous Bush era.

I on the other hand am just excited to be able to vote from abroad for the first time. As an American living abroad though, I feel a bit of a disconnect from the whole process. But in order to make Mrs. Switzer proud I needed to vote. So I registered for an absentee ballot which arrived yesterday in the mail. After reading through the information I realized that there needed to be a quick turnaround time. Because suddenly November 4th is just around the corner. Eleven days around the corner. And so, over the course of the last 24 hours or so I’ve been voting as an American.

So at about 11 in the pm last night I started voting. And I was still voting at 2 in the morning. Because I wanted to make sure I knew what I was voting for. And Colorado had a solid number of amendments to be voted on. Plus a bunch of people I had never heard of. Luckily, the good state of Colorado puts out a book with information on all of the amendments. Gives the proposed amendment, gives a summary, describes what will change, what won’t change, the impact it will have on various aspects of Colorado, the supposed financial impact, and then an equal number of for and against arguments. And I poured over it and made my decisions.

In a strange attempt to test my political leanings I stayed away from any sort of partisan websites that would suggest I vote in a certain way. Until I had made my choices in black ink. At which point I scoured the web. With the help of my old man on the other side of the Atlantic. Turns out I agree with Colorado Republicans on just about everything that has ties to small business. I blame my father for this somehow.

While I found plenty of information on the amendments, the candidates were a bit trickier. Because to get information on the candidates it was usually necessary to go to the candidates websites. Which obviously are bastions of neutral and non-partisan information.

Eventually, again with the help of the old man, I got enough information on candidates to make what I consider a halfway intelligent decision considering I am thousands of miles away.

Of course some of the candidates were pretty easy to find information on. Like the Presidential candidates. However, Colorado likes to put a twist on things. Because Colorado actually has 16 people on the ballot for President. Apparently, all it takes to get on the ballot in Colorado is 1000 signatures and $500. And of course all of the other requirements, like that whole being born in the USA thing. Which Bruce Springsteen has, and I do not. I mean come on now, I had no control over that. It’s just not fair. Teachers for years told me I could be anything I wanted to be. But they lied. Because I will never be President of the United States of America. I think we all know that only America loses in that situation.

So after hours of voting research in the wee hours of the morning, and continued research the next morning, I had done my civic duty. It felt good. Colorado even provided me with a sticker to wear that shows off my voting prowess.

Now I can only hope that my ballot gets to Colorado in time. I did pay an extra 80 SEK to make sure it arrives next week instead of taking the chance that 7 business days isn’t enough.

Welcome to Sweden, where the democratic process is alive and well.

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  1. Interesting to follow this.

    Also interesting that I have been in contact with a wanna-be president of USA and a wanna-be Nobel prize winner (you know who you are :), some blog-mates I have!

  2. of the best posts yet...really enjoyed it. Don't be too disheartened, you could still be Governator!!! Going to join us in South America?

  3. @smek - it is definitely an interesting process

    @john - glad to hear it. Im actually really hoping the governator will go ahead and get that law changed for me.

    and about s. america, I'm hoping to have my ass a job by then to be honest.

  4. Obama for President!October 27, 2008 at 9:02 AM

    Barack Obama for president!

  5. I didn't get a little "I voted" sticker with my mail in ballot??
    Not fair!

  6. they don't just hand these things out willy-nilly.