Thursday, 10 June 2004


The Polling Station

Experimental voting schemes seem to be all the rage these days. A couple of years ago Ipswich tried Internet and SMS-based voting. This year, much of the north of England is trying post-only voting.

While many of my friends always get a postal vote, I prefer to visit the Polling Station in person.

Take today. Behind the desk, two retirees are working the station. In front of me in the queue is an old man in a tweed jacket. He has a cane, a stooping walk and an infectious, toothless grin. After confirming his identity he leisurely makes for the door.

"Mr Harris! You'll need this!"

One of the folk from behind the desk is waving a ballot paper.

"Where do I sign it?" he asked.

"Just put your cross in this column, next to the party you want to vote for."

This man must live very close to me, but I don't think I've seen him before. Voting gets me down to the local community hall and meeting my neighbours. I wouldn't give that up for all the button-pushing or post-box stuffing alternatives in the world.

As I leave, I see Mr Harris is still keeping the staff occupied. He's handed them the completed ballot.

"I want you to witness me put it in the box," they say, but Mr Harris is more interested in seeing his smile reflected in every face that will meet it.

Posted by pab at 16:45 | Comments will be back later in the year. Please email me instead!