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    That’s One Vote For President Paranoia

    | Finland | Bizarre, Politics

    (I work as an election official at an early voting polling station in Finland. Early voting slips have to be sent to the voters’ own electoral districts before counting them. This means they are enclosed first into one envelope to ensure anonymity, which is then enclosed into yet another envelope with the address of the voter’s district on it. I am processing a lady voter’s slip.)

    Me: “Okay. Now that everything is stamped and signed, we just have to enclose your voting slip into these two envelopes, and then we’ll be good as done.”

    Voter: “What?! You can’t talk about the candidates here. This is supposed to be a neutral situation!”

    Me: “I beg your pardon?”

    Voter: “Don’t you know that it’s illegal to try to influence voters at the polling station? How can you not know that if you work here?”

    Me: *confused*

    Voter: “This is just unprofessional, you talking about the candidates’ numbers. I demand you discuss this with your coworkers at the end of the day!”

    (The voter leaves, looking quite appalled. We did discuss the episode at the end of the day and onto the next day. The only conclusion we can arrive at is that the phrase “two envelopes” is clearly propaganda for candidate number 2!)

    Tag, You’re President

    | Germany |

    (I am helping out during the election in our region. A middle-aged man approaches the table to get his ballot papers.)

    Voter: “Hey, who should I vote for?”

    Me: “That’s your decision. Voting is about making your opinion heard.”

    Voter: “I don’t know!”

    (He waits for some time with his papers in hand before he enters a booth. He doesn’t come out for a few minutes. I am about to kindly ask him to hurry up.)

    Voter: “Hey, can someone say ‘stop’, please?”

    (The other voters snicker. A young woman looks at me. I shrug.)

    Woman: “Stop!”

    Voter: “Thanks! Once more, please!”

    Woman: “Stop!”

    (The man exits the booth and puts his ballot into the ballot box.)

    Woman: *amused* “Got a good vote there?”

    Voter: “Yes, thank you! This ‘making your opinion heard’ stuff is really hard!” *beams at everyone* “Well, I’ve done my duty now! It feels good!”

    Labouring Over The Decision

    | Wollongong, Australia | Extra Stupid, Politics

    (We are having our federal election. I have just given a voter her ballot papers, and she told me she was familiar with how to vote. However, about 5 minutes later, I see her desperately trying to get her hand into the ballot box.)

    Customer: “Someone help me!”

    Me: “What is it? Are you okay?”

    Customer: “No! I voted for the wrong person! I don’t want that evil man running my country! I just got confused!”

    Me: “I’m so sorry, I can’t get into the ballot box until 6pm tonight. Tell me what happened, and I’ll ask my supervisor if there’s anything we can do.”

    Customer: “I meant to vote for Julia Gillard but I accidentally put my preference down as Labour!”

    Me: “I think you’re okay then. Julia Gillard is the Labour representative.”

    Customer: *suddenly looking shifty* “Well duh. Why else would I have voted for Labour?”

    Sketchy Ballots

    | Bloomfield Township, MI, USA | Extra Stupid, Politics

    (I am an election inspector for the 2010 Primary Election.)

    Customer: “Why isn’t there a Tea Party choice on the ballot? I don’t want to vote Democrat or Republican!”

    Me: “Ma’am, only the Democratic and Republican parties are having a primary.  You can’t vote for the Tea Party. You can choose not to vote the partisan section of the ballot, if you wish.”

    Customer: “Well, how about if I just draw a big teapot on the ballot?”

    Big Bother

    | United Kingdom | Extra Stupid, Politics, Top

    (A young girl of 18 or 19, clearly a first-time voter, skips the line and rushes up to my table.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, you’ll have to wait. There’s a line.”

    Voter: “I’m sorry, but it’s important! I need to get my ballot paper back. I voted for the wrong person!”

    Me: “Alright, give me the spoiled one.”

    Voter: “I can’t. I put it in the box.”

    Me: “Then I’m afraid we can’t get it back. The boxes can’t be opened until the end of voting at ten o’clock.”

    Voter: “But I didn’t know! I don’t want the Conservatives to get in so I voted for [Conservative candidate]. I should have voted for someone else!”

    Me: “Um, why did you vote for the Conservative?”

    (The girl turns scarlet and looks utterly miserable.)

    Voter: “I thought it was like TV where you vote them off!”