Friday, May 12, 2006

Or you could just make it alphabetical ...

File this in the folder marked: "Glad There's a Science Behind These Here Elections." From a Tribune story on the placement of candidate names on the ballot:
Cook County Clerk David Orr used two empty pill bottles to hide which slip of paper contained which party name, then dropped the pill bottles into a vase and shook them around before Weissberg blindly pulled out the one with the slip reading "Democrat."

Similar scenarios played out at other county election offices, with table tennis balls marked "Republican" winning in DuPage and "Democrat" in Kane.

A paper method used in Lake County resulted in "Republican" winning for the first time in 12 years, officials said, while Republicans also won top billing in McHenry County.
Reminds me of one of my favorite short stories, by Shirley Jackson:
Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr. Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations. Chips of wood, Mr. Summers had argued, had been all very well when the village was tiny, but now that the population was more than three hundred and likely to keep on growing, it was necessary to use something that would fit more easily into he black box.
In the story, when someone suggests that this "lottery" be eliminated, Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, replies, "Pack of crazy fools. Listening to the young folks, nothing's good enough for them. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live that way for a while. Used to be a saying about 'Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon.' First thing you know, we'd all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There's always been a lottery."

And here, here in our various Illinois county offices, there's always been a bass-ackwards way of selecting ballot placement. 'Course it does matter which party gets top billing, I reckon, cause people just vote for the top name, right?

If only the winners of our elections got the same treatment as the winner of "The Lottery":
Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. "It isn't fair," she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, "Come on, come on, everyone." Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.

"It isn't fair, it isn't right," Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.


Blogger Jenska said...

The ending of "The Lottery" was chilling enough to me in high school that I still think about it from time to time.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Molitor said...

Here's an idea. Instead of having a couple of politically connected city clerks do the lottery, why don't they hold some essay contest for school kids.The winner who writes the best essay on the "Merits of Voting" would pick the winning party. With voting turnout at 25% you ought to do something to connect with the kids.

10:05 AM  
Blogger ap said...

I don't know, mr. molitor. The last time we let schoolchildren vote, we got the Pink Line!

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Molitor said...

Good point, however the last time we two times we let the adults vote we got a man who's middle name was hussein elected senator and a man who had a stroke and a incapicated elected democratic cook county president nominee even though everyone knows he'll drop out.

1:57 PM  

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