Voters: Are you smarter than a fifth grader?

I didn’t start out intending to be a political humor writer, but what can you do when it’s all just right there for the taking?  It’s like E.L. James decided to write a story of an election, and this is the result.

Anyhoo, I promised to tell you of my experience voting.  I went to the polls the week before Super Tuesday (the first Super voting day) with my Republican husband.  We were the only ones there.  In Texas, you have these little voter booths that resemble old arcade game machines.  You get controls too, only this one is just a dial you use to go down the list of names and select your candidate.  It is not a touch screen, as the sign (created by the poor souls who actually volunteer to register you) clearly states.  Yet every time I touch it first.  As does everyone else.

Voting machines. Also play Pac-Man.

Voting machines. Also play Pac-Man.

But why a rotary dial?  Are we going back to the 80s here?  I guess it fits the arcade theme.  And why does every state do this differently?  Why pregnant chads in Florida?  I don’t get it.  But I digress.  Again.  Mostly because I have to admit that when it comes to voting, I am not that bright.

Obviously I knew who I wanted to select as the Democrat’s candidate, though my husband was still somewhat undecided except for “Not Trump”.  To make this process more confusing to voters, several Republican candidates who had dropped out long ago were still on the ballot.  I wonder how many votes those people got.   It would have been extra funny if somehow Texas had elected, say, Jeb!

I won when I wasn't running! Gorsh!

I won when I wasn’t running! Gorsh!

At least the Democrats had been narrowed down to two for a long time, so easy peasy right?   Then I got my ballot, and I realized I had completely forgotten, in spite of doing this every two to four years since I turned 18, that there was a lot of other stuff on the ballot.  Like bunches of other people I had never heard of, and even a few political positions I had never heard of, and I had to choose one.  Most only had one person, so that was pretty easy, but then Railroad Commissioner had three.  Eenie, Meenie, Mini?  For a while I was terrified I had accidentally voted for a Republican, then I remembered this was the Democratic primary.  Which means they should all be Democrats?  Theoretically?

And then came the story problems, or as the political establishment calls them, referendums.  Oops. I had not looked any of those up beforehand either.  All of these were written in legalese.  I have a Master’s degree in English (no, really!) and I had to read them more than once to make sure I was voting the right way.  There were questions like this one:

Get your thinking caps on!

Get your thinking caps on!

Do you agree with a bill that will not permit the exercise of extreme force upon juvenile seals by way of blunt instrument?

And so you are about to say “no” obviously, cause you want to prevent clubbing baby seals!  But then you realize that it says “permit” instead of “prevent”, but that’s still “no” because it’s permitting clubbing them seals.  Wait, then you remember there’s that “not” in there, so you need to say “yes” you want a bill that doesn’t permit clubbing seals.  Right?   When did seals get permits?  I’m not sure I care about the seals anymore.  Whoever wrote up these referendums needs a club to the head.  My husband who is not an English major, in fact has a reading disability, was there for quite a while after I had finished.  He was also extremely confused.

Like poor Chris.

Like poor Chris.

“I’m not sure what I voted for,” he said.

“Me neither,” I replied.

And we went our merry way, just like most Americans.  And that is how the voting system works, kiddos! I even got a sticker.

Like the short-lived game show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, the sad news is that kids actually DO know more than many adults about politics.  They also seem to care about it.  Nevermind that none of them can vote.  Thing Two has a fellow student / arch enemy who is insane about Trump, enough that he carries around his biography like a Bible.  No kid should carry around ANY politician’s bio, especially that one.  Thing Two enjoys responding to his “Trump is Awesome” speeches with taunts of “GO HILLARY!  HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT!”  I love my kids.

If you want some proof that kids know way more than we do (and more than they should, really), here is a video with kids responding to Donald Trump’s antics, and answering questions.  You might be tempted to think they were prompted, but I believe it’s totally real, because you just don’t come up with stuff the way these kids do.  Also no adult would have that much common sense.  Prepare to laugh your head off, then feel sad for their future.  Here it is.



Now the GOP is hoping to keep the four  candidates in as long as possible in order to prevent Trump from securing enough delegates, thus allowing the party to select its own candidate, rather than the voters.  Something seems wrong with this picture.  It’s a good reason to vote, though, because if you take all the people who don’t bother, you get enough to say, keep a crazed lunatic (choose one) out of office.  And that’s just being a good American.

Here goes nothin'!

Here goes nothin’!


22 responses

  1. Your system seems too much like hard work. If I have to tick more than one box every four years I get voter apathy 🙂

    1. Might explain why over 50 percent of people didn’t vote in the last election. Or something like that. But playing with the dial was fun.

      1. We just get a piece of paper and a pencil on a string 🙂

        1. We are soooo much more sophisticated lol.

  2. This is why I like Arizona’s system of early voting by mail-in ballot. The polls are still there for those who forget, but you can sit and ponder the ballot for days if necessary. Or, fill it out in 30 seconds and let it sit in your car for days until you realize that there’s no time to mail it, and drop it at the polls, which still lets you get out of standing in line. Also, they did a special ballot just for the Presidential primary, with nothing on it but the primary candidates. In Arizona, however, there are SIX candidates on the Democratic primary ballot, and if I was going to vote based on who has the best sounding name, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente would have gotten my vote, because Rocky for President could totally outclass Trump. There are fourteen GOP candidates, including some guy named Tim Cook who didn’t even submit a picture for the state’s election information website. There were even TWO Green Party candidates, so all 4600 registered Green Party voters in Arizona have multiple primary options for a change!

    1. Wait, how were there six candidates for Prez on the ballot? There were only 5 in the very beginning and 2 dropped out almost immediately . . .

      1. They’re probably still using a 2004 ballots, because who cares who wins the Democratic primary in Arizona – the state is going to vote Republican anyway.

        1. Same with Texas, but I wanted to be one of the dozen or so people outside of Austin to vote in the Democratic primary. Also on election day, we cancel out each others’ votes.

      2. I’m fairly certain there’s some kind of state-by-state process you have to go through to get on the primary ballot in each state.

        1. I still don’t get it . . .

  3. Those kids are beyond smart. I worry about the one in the pink checkered shirt. I hate those story problem questions. Deception at best. Not prohibit?? Angryface…

    1. That little boy is so adorable – and confused. Just like we are. And it does make you think about how people vote when the language is so confusing. I couldn’t find much information online about Texas voting that was recent (I did this after voting of course). They do make little pamphlets explaining it, but as far as I know, they are only at the public library. They aren’t mailed out to us anymore. I guess because most people would line their birdcages with them.

  4. In my state, when we get a referendum question, the state sends a mailer before the election which states the text of the question, plain English translation of what a Yes vote means and what No vote means, and arguments for/against clubbing baby seals written out by pro/against baby seal-clubbing organizations, respectively. Witn that much information readily available, we even had referendums where the majority actually voted to raise their own sales taxes. (It’s possible that the other alternative was clubbing baby seals.)

    1. We have those little pamphlets too, but they don’t bother sending them out anymore (voter apathy hard at work). I think they have them at the public library, but I forgot they even had the referendums on the ballot, in spite of voting in so many elections, so I wouldn’t have gone to the library. And you can bet most Americans don’t go to a library. Cause it’s all online, right?

      I feel like clubbing a baby seal now.

  5. Well, I just got back from clubbing with some baby seals, one just never knows when the government will take away what small joys we have left. We did the bar-hop scene downtown and the baby seals were quite impressed by the bands playing. Wait, what? What do you mean they are HITTING the babies? What?! Why would anyone do that?! I thought they were going to stop us from going clubbing with baby seals – they are great to go drinking with. Who would ever want to hit a baby seal? That’s silly. That can’t be on your ballot. They must mean “Should baby seals be allowed to go clubbing?”

    1. Much better question! I would definitely prefer to go clubbing with baby seals than most of the candidates on the ballot. Or have them as President. Maybe we could vote in a baby seal.

  6. As a fifth grader I used to wear a Bush/Quayle button to school. Times have changed

    1. Did you know how to spell potato?

      1. I think I did. I was always a pretty good speller.

        1. Probably better than Quayle. Though, really, that’s a sad little compliment there, sorry.

  7. I think the UK system is a little less complicated, but I have a horrible feeling that each system has something inherently wrong with it, given the media frenzy that’s going on…

    1. Ah, Faith, just found this comment. It’s like everything is now split in two. Before the Cheeto, after the Cheeto. No one thought he’d win. I mean NOBODY. I still don’t believe it. I’m going to keep not believing it la la la la.

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