Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting for the First Time

My son Andrew was able to vote today for the first time in his life. He was very excited and wanted to make sure he voted for the right people. It's a neat experience voting for the first time. It's almost like a rite of passage and it suddenly gives you a sense of responsibility and a sense that you really matter; at least that's how I felt both times I voted for the first time.

The first time I voted for the first time was in the UK in 1965. It was different there, as it still is, from how we vote in the US. In the UK you vote for your local candidate for one of the political parties. In each of the wards throughout the country individuals who represent the entire spectrum of political viewpoints, and usually a political party, "stand" for the House of Commons and  try to win your vote. The political party that has the most candidates elected to the House by a certain margin wins the election with the prime minister coming from that political party.

The second time I voted for the first time was in 1986 after becoming a US citizen in 1985. It was the same level of excitement all over again even though it was quite a different system. It has always seemed strange voting for a single person, a President, but in retrospect voting for a political party in England was probably the same thing because you always knew before you voted who the Prime Minister would be if a certain political party ended up being elected.

So, I'm off to vote.

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