Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Not Much Sleep

I like quite a few people am rather tired this morning having decided to watch the results of the American elections. I managed to stay up until the west coast declared and the magic 270 was passed, 5 am here. What a night; trying to get my head around the voting system in the States. It’s so different to the UK system and I couldn’t believe how long it took to vote.

In the UK you can nip in and vote before or after work while in the States you needed to take a day off work, some queues had a wait time of 5 hours or more. After that the ‘calling’ of the states based on exit polls; I think if this was done in the UK there would be quite a difference between what people said they voted and what they actually did in the privacy of the voting booth and that’s if they did tell you. I for one wouldn’t say as I believe in the right to a secret ballot. Add to that the fact that people have been able to vote for the last month and that in some states some military votes wouldn’t be counted at all unless the populous vote was tied:- it is just such a different system but then it is a vote carried out over a much larger area and with so many more people voting than anything I’m used to. To put it in context, President Elect Obama won nearly as many votes as the population of the UK, 61.5 million.

I’m glad I watched, as the TV endlessly said, it was history in the making which ever way it went and I hope it will enable a fresh start in the way the USA is perceived by the rest of the world.

2 comments:

Robin said...

What you've said is true for part of the country but the US is very large and very diverse. Walking into and out of the polls in 10 minutes isn't newsworthy even though it's accurate. It took me 10 minutes to vote and most of that time was spent chatting with neighbors. My husband was the only person there when he went to vote, it took him five minutes. Most of us don't need to take a day off from work. A few minutes really is all it required. I know it's not exciting, but it's reality. I'm so glad this part of the election is over!

dND said...

Hi Robin, Thanks for pointing that out. It shows how much perceptions can be changed by media, something we should all be aware of.