Not Voting In Your Favor

, , , , | Legal | June 3, 2019

(In Brazil, voting is mandatory by law. We may annul our votes, but we need to be physically present at our designated voting center or have a good reason not to be. Otherwise, we pay a fee and there might be some legal repercussions. In the last election weekend, I was in Canada for work, and only took the plane back Sunday. I go to justify missing the election.)

Me: “Hi. I need to justify missing the last election, as I was traveling. Here’s my documentation.”

Clerk: “This says you left your trip at 10:00 am. You still had plenty of time to come and vote. This justifies nothing.”

Me: “Perhaps you’re not aware, but it’s a twelve-hour flight from where I was, so I arrived in Brazil after the voting was already over.”

Clerk: *condescendingly* “Then you should have planned your little trip better, shouldn’t you?”

Me: “Can you just please put the documents through? I’m sure if…”

Clerk: “That’s not my problem! I’m not submitting a justification that doesn’t even cover the election times, just because you think you’re special and can break the law.”

Me: “Can I speak to a supervisor?”

(She calls one, mumbling about stupid, entitled people. I explain to the supervisor.)

Supervisor: “She’s very right. It’s not our job to fudge a justification so you can get off easy.”

Me: *now totally perplexed* “But it’s not fudging! I wasn’t in the country!”

Supervisor: “We’re not doing this. You’d better go now before I call security.”

(I left, very irritated and confused, and tried again at a different center a couple of days later. Believe it or not, I had almost the exact same conversation at the other center! My company decided to pay the fee for me, figuring it was better than to keep having me miss work to deal with it, or have any legal hassle later. I tried complaining up the government chain, but the sad thing is that these are all public servants, and for them to get even a write-up it needs to be an offense you could pretty much get arrested over, so nothing came of it.)

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