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the USA elections
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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

came across this on Time:

After the Feb. 21 debate in Austin, Texas, we were leaving in the morning. Barack had the flu. There was an elderly black gentleman who had been our elevator operator for three days. As we got to the ground floor, he said, "Senator Obama, I have something I want to give you," and he handed him his military patch. He said, "I've carried this military patch with me every day for 40 years, and I want you to carry it, and it will keep you safe in your journey." It was just such an unbelievable act of generosity. So later we asked Barack what he had done with it. And he pulled it out of his pocket and said, "This is why I do this. Because people have their hopes and dreams about what we can do together."

Valerie Jarrett, senior Obama adviser
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The transition site is pretty cool: http://change.gov/
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srk



Joined: 09 Apr 2005
Posts: 85
Location: Berkeley, CA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm about a week behind here, but I have a question for madameshawshank regarding the first post in this discussion: what do you mean about voting being "compulsory?" Is there some sort of penalty if you don't show up? Much as I'd love it if everyone thought it was important enough to vote here in the US, mandatory voting seems weirdly anathema to the concept of democracy.
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

srk, I'll jump in an answer this one, then madame can add to it. Yes, in Australia voting in State and Federal elections is compulsory. Everyone over 18 who is registered to vote (ie, on an Electoral Roll) must vote, even if they are overseas or indisposed at the time, although they can give an explanation for not voting in the latter case. There is a fine for not voting.

Yes, I guess it does go against the concept of democracy, but OTOH, Australians are very casual (okay, we're slack) about a lot of things, and if it was left up to the individual Australian, a huge percentage wouldn't get off their backsides and go to the local polling booth to vote.

Having said all that, though, our polling booths seem to be much better organised than what I've read about in the US. There's rarely much of a wait, plenty of polling booths to vote at (well, in the cities anyway) and the electoral officers are fast and efficient.

Technically, in Australia when there's a state or federal election it's compulsory to have your name crossed off the electoral roll and hand back the ballot papers you were given by the electoral officer - whether you mark the ballot papers is up to you.
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bainst



Joined: 07 Aug 2005
Posts: 151
Location: Baghdad, Iraq

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All the video and pictures of the celebrations and groups of people breathlessly awaiting the results reminded me so much of what I saw as a teenager watching the first open elections in South Africa. I remember feeling happy but not quite understanding what they felt. How different things are fourteen years later. I can remember the 1988 election till now, and I know no one reacted like they did this past Election Day.
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