Why I'll Miss Voting in California

Draft created: 6 November 2012
Last updated: 7 November 2012
Status: a blip

I voted today, November 6, 2012. After voting by absentee ballot in California elections since 2004 — from Massachusetts, the District of Columbia, and New York — I finally voted in person this year, at P.S. 140 in Manhattan.

I’ve lived in New York for nearly three years now. I hoped that voting here would seal some civic, or at least symbolic, bond with the city. In a sense it has, in some ineffable way that most rites do.

But in another sense, it underwhelmed. This year, 11 state ballot measures confront California voters. Two additional measures concern Alameda County and residents of the City of Berkeley get to vote on 10 more. You can vote whether to repeal the California’s death penalty [Prop 34], to revise the state’s Three Strikes law [Prop 36], to force special labeling of genetically engineered foods [Prop 37]. Alameda residents can vote to levy an annual $12/parcel tax in exchange for upgrades to animal care at the Oakland Zoo [Measure A1]. And I could have helped decide whether to approve a Berkeley ordinance “prohibiting sitting on sidewalks in commercial districts from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm” (with some exceptions) [Measure S].

As a voter in New York’s 8th Congressional District, I had no meaty civic questions to vex over, no community issues to research, just a handful of partisan races to mark. As long as I live in New York, I’ll keep casting my ballot here, but I’ll miss voting in California.