Wahlhelfer, part 2

The­re was an arti­cle in the local news­pa­per the other day whe­re the Sta­te of Bre­men asked its rea­ders to vol­un­teer for today­’s elec­tion day. I quick­ly down­loa­ded the app­li­ca­ti­on form from the inet and app­lied for that posi­ti­on as I always wan­ted to do that kind of work.

Such a one-day job actual­ly inclu­des arri­ving at the pol­ling sta­ti­on as ear­ly as 7.30 am and sup­por­ting the elec­tion offi­cial until all votes are regis­tered, which means you’­re home at about 9 pm.

Des­pi­te of being inte­res­ted in that kind of work, I also wan­ted to see WHO actual­ly lives in this area which had been my inte­rim home during 1983–1990 — and sin­ce I had just retur­ned to a fami­li­ar place for the first time in my life, a place I am some­ti­mes rea­dy to accept as my “base sta­ti­on”, I thought it would be gre­at to see some fami­li­ar faces from the past.
Bes­i­des, the­re’s EUR 30,- incen­ti­ve at the end of the day, and in my Ken­ya­nes­que brain­st­ruc­tures, this equals to around Kshs. 2700/= for a day of just sit­ting on a desk and making sure that ppl drop their votes. Dude, could I ask for more? Simple!


So wha­t’s the difference?

Bes­i­des of dif­fe­rent pro­ce­du­res (voters get their elec­to­ral card sent through nor­mal snail mail and have to deli­ver eit­her this card or their ID card in order to vote), one thing remains as an amu­sing fact.

Well, can u see that long bench in the midd­le of the floor? We used it to divi­de the room into two are­as for each elec­to­ral district, but ppl here — for some pecu­li­ar rea­son — appar­ent­ly saw this as a chal­len­ge to chan­ge lines a.k.a. districts and con­se­quent­ly line up for ano­t­her district. They just jum­ped over the bench as if they were back in school (the buil­ding is a pri­ma­ry school).

==> Whe­re­as you’d pro­bab­ly see an aska­ri with a run­gu in Kenya, making sure that ppl keep order, the­re was no order here, just unbe­liev­a­b­ly “smart” peop­le (~ 5% of them having a PhD) who appar­ent­ly thought to be smar­ter than the rest by jum­ping over the bench the line. Idiots.

Need­les to men­ti­on that the majo­ri­ty of the elec­to­ra­te in this district voted for a very con­ser­va­ti­ve par­ty. I guess this goes to show the actu­al mea­ning of per­ma­nent head dama­ges (phd). ^^

The pro­blem with many ppl is their ina­bi­li­ty to think in juris­tic terms — put­ting your vote on a pie­ce of paper isn’t voting but ins­tead drop­ping that vote into a sea­led box and get­ting your name regis­tered as having voted. The con­se­quence of this misun­derstan­ding is that they put every empha­sis on mar­king their cross on that pie­ce of paper, but when it comes to the actu­al pro­cess of regis­tering your vote, many voters today just won­de­red about this extra hassle.

And yes, it was a nice expe­ri­ence today and I would do it again any other day. It’s a good fee­ling to be living in a socie­ty whe­re ppl actual­ly care about each other, and des­pi­te of the­se some­what pecu­li­ar relicts of Ger­man histo­ry, I appre­cia­te being part of the sys­tem, even if its just for one day.

Of cour­se I just had to clo­se the day with Bre­men’s best pro­duct: Beck’s Gold! :-)

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