Voting tips for the 2002 elections

By Doug Powers

With the election right around the corner, this country can ill afford to have a repeat of the 2000 Florida debacle. As a result of the long, stressful and exhausting fight during the last two months of 2000, Americans were tired, George W. Bush was behind in putting together his team, and Al Gore spent the ensuing year looking like he swallowed Sebastian Cabot. Let us never again degrade our citizens, candidates or “A Family Affair” in such a manner. I hope these pointers can be of assistance to some of you:

  • If you’re like me and live in an area that hasn’t purchased voting machines since The New Deal, you’ll likely have to get in the booth and confront all sorts of strange knobs and buttons. Should this occur, do not close the curtain and pretend that you’re Frank Morgan operating the Wizard. Fantasizing can wait, but those of us in line behind you can’t.

  • If you get picked up in front of a convenience store by a bus or van filled with more zeros than the deck of an aircraft carrier in Yamamoto’s fleet, be careful. Especially if it’s being driven by some reverend who asks you to sell out one of your greatest rights and privileges as an American in return for a pint of Yukon Jack. You may, at this time, want to reconsider your trip to the polls. Most people don’t like the thought of their vote being cancelled out by a guy with 8 a.m. booze breath who thinks the Green Party is a shindig over at Kermit’s house.

  • Claiming you “accidentally” voted for anybody provides nothing to the country other than a reason why MTV’s “The Real World” is still on. We should send these people to Iraq to vote in their next election. Hussein would be stunned after the polls closed to find himself in a ‘too close to call’ race with Pat Buchanan.

  • While in a California voting booth, if the power goes out, take it as a sign and vote for Simon.

  • If you’re in Minnesota and vote for the Duke of Dull, Walter Mondale, prepare to be put in a sleeper hold that will make even Jesse Ventura envious. The good news is that a soon-to-be 75-year-old Mondale would bring some youth to a Senate which decides whether or not it’s time to do laundry by carbon dating their underwear. This is a group of men to whom L-tryptophan is drug of choice. Chivalry isn’t dead, it’s just napping. Shhh.

  • If you take a jab at the punch card with the stylus, accidentally miss it, poke your finger and get blood on your ballot, beware. Los Angeles County now considers this to be a write-in vote for Robert Blake.

  • With the punch-card voting system, the hole you punch is, generally, somewhere in the same room of the name of the candidate you wish to vote for.

  • If you’re under 40 – and this is going to be your first time voting – it’s nice that you decided to recognize and appreciate the freedoms provided us by the Constitution. If you’re over 40 and this is going to be your first time voting – don’t.

  • Please think twice before voting for the Socialist, Greens, Communist, Workers, Natural Law, Jedi or any other political party which holds their national convention in the back dining room of a Denny’s. It’s not that I care if you’re a misguided “common good” malcontent, commie, eco-freako, Rand worshipper or one of those geeks who quotes Yoda all the time in an attempt to keep their minds off the fact that they’re not dating. The thought that those candidates have no chance of winning is secondary to the fact that you’re taking up space in line for nothing! How would these guys like it if a couple of us got in front of them in line at Hummus Hut, chit-chatted with the cashier for a while, then left without buying anything?

  • Last, but perhaps most importantly, it’s vital that there be no major stupidity this time. If a few of us are perpetually unable to negotiate a ballot, government agencies will continue to try and simplify the process, which will then make the rest of us unable to understand it. If you see something you can’t figure out, tap one of the volunteers on the shawl and ask for help. If you still don’t get it, leave immediately. Do it for your country.