Does your heart thrum with excitement when you fill in a little bubble? Do you feel your most beautiful when adorned with an "I Voted" sticker? Do you believe in the power of representative democracy to make sure your wishes are voiced by those with the power to effect change?
No, no, and no? Well, you numbskull Floridians, you should go vote today anyway because you'll be participating in one of the most broken, ineffectual systems ever birthed by our modern democracy, and that sounds like fun.
Here are five things to remember as you schlep reluctantly to the polls to mingle with your fellow grieving serfs:
5. Bring your ID.
>Voter ID laws in Florida require a driver's license, state-issued ID card, or some such thing to vote... gone are the days of flashing your voter registration and getting a ballot. If you don't have one, you can file a provisional ballot that might not count. In the future we might see even stricter ID laws, thanks to conservative Washington groups, in part, and to our own vigilant governor. This will also tap into the system to make sure you're registered to vote... which, if you're poor or disenfranchised, you probably aren't, since our state also passed a law severely curtailing voter registration drives by third-party groups.
4. Don't be poor or black.
Those new Florida laws also included a change to early voting, eliminating Sunday voting before Election Day, which traditionally was a mainstay in politically involved black churches. Parishioners would make a social event out of it, gathering to go to the polls and vote for whoever seemed most in line with their ideals. This is way too old-fashioned and charming for Florida, of course, so Rick Scott made sure that people would have to either vote on Saturday or go to the polls during the week. This, of course, forces them to take time off from all those jobs he created.
3. Felony record? Stay at home.
Even if you were convicted for something nonviolent -- say, stealing an expensive pen -- Rick Scott says you have to wait five years after leaving jail to have your voting rights restored. Don't agree with that and think that a sentence served should be the end of your punishment? You could always vote for someone to change that... oh, wait.
2. It's a good idea to vote based on what people in lawn chairs outside the polling location tell you.
They got up really early to stake out that spot, which means they are dedicated, alert citizens. Also, they are getting paid to be there, which is free-market democracy in action. And since nobody expects you to research the issues beforehand and come with a list of judges and school board members who would actually be helpful, just remember the last name you heard before you walked in. It's so easy!
1. You can pick from a whole bunch of terrible options.
Hey, that lady who failed to show up to her job for weeks on end because she was talking her way out of a corruption case by spilling the dirt on her corrupt friend? You can make her a JUDGE now! Yay! That guy who was voted out of office after a supermean smear campaign on his opponent that distracted from the fact that he was using campaign money to rent a really nice house? He can have his old job back, if you decide! A judge who's accused of keeping only a minimal presence in court? He can be a judge still! The guy accused of molesting and the guy accused of stealing? They could replace the sheriff who took Rothstein money! And best part, one of them took Rothstein money too! THIS IS ALL SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!
Good luck out there, unemployed white Florida drivers. The world needs your choices.
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