Thursday, November 15, 2012

I Voted

Nov. 6. The United States of America voted for national and local officials.  And in Minnesota we voted on two proposed constitutional amendments.

 In America the  campaigns can last up to two years.  There a lot more phone calls and surveys done here. So much so that many people I know refused to answer their landline phones until after Nov. 6. The time to vote is the first Tuesday of the month of November. Where you vote is determined by where you live.  My assigned location this time happened to be at a local church.  (Last time I voted in person,  in 2004, was in a local school.)  On the news I heard of places with long lines for voters. For me I was tenth in line and was in and out in less than 20 minutes. I used a paper and pen to fill out the 2 sided form.  I also saw my neighbor at the polling place with his 4 year old daughter who was learning about the voting system.   "I Voted" stickers are worn proudly after participating in the process.

I found it interesting that in Japan election campaigns are held 1 month before the election and the place and time to vote is on a Sunday at school.  Campaigns can included posters, loud speaker vans broadcasting messages, candidates with megaphones at train stations, and fliers in your mailbox.

Oh, and in Japan, you don't vote directly for the prime minister - you vote for the representatives and the party with the most representatives appoints the prime minister.  If the Prime Minister resigns the party appoints a new one (without needing a vote from the public.)  Since 2007 there have been 5 Prime Ministers in 5 years!  It was just announced that Prime Minister Noda is dissolving the diet (the legislative assembly), forcing an election Dec. 16.  And now reports (see here and here) are that a new party may gain leadership and Japan will have a new prime minister.

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