Adventures in Voting

Today, for the first time in my life, I went to a polling place to vote.

For someone so interested in politics, I'm ashamed to say I've been eligible to vote in elections for 5 years, and have only done so twice. For the last presidential election, I cast an absentee ballot from college, and then today. Why did I vote in an election in an off-year, you may wonder? Because Carmel's mayor of many years was up for election, and I'm ready to see him gone. I've made no secret of this. I think he is wasting Carmel's money, putting the city in deep debt, and all for the goal of making the city a 'prestigious' place to live. High-end decor and art shops have been opened in a totally-rebuilt downtown. A performing arts center will have limestone for the building facade because the original stucco plans weren't fancy enough. And, there's the whole ethics questions of the mayor & other council members getting upwards of 80% of their campaign contributions from the businesses and developers they're giving city-development business to.

All the while, the needs of lower-income residents are being ignored. The mayor and council fought for years to annex a section of the township that, on average, is probably the lowest-income area, and who didn't want to be annexed, so they wouldn't have to pay the city taxes (among other good reasons). Just recently, the residents finally lost their appeal. A huge, upscale living and shopping center was approved by the mayor and city council over the land that now contains some of the most affordable apartments in the whole city. Since the mayor's been in office, the public pool has closed, and the new $55 million Monon Center might as well be a fitness club, with yearly membership starting at $380 for 1 person. An entrance to just the "water park" (not the whole facility) is $8. Most city pools are $2-$4, for an affordable family summer outing.

And, you see I didn't even mention the silly roundabouts.

Maybe 'Carmel' just isn't my thing. Maybe I don't understand the development and expenditure decisions because I'm not into 'prestige' and 'upscale'- I prefer 'homey' and 'social justice'. I cast a vote against the current leaders, for whatever it is worth. I don't know if enough people feel the way I do for any change to come about, and even if they did, there were two "not-Brainard" candidates, and I'm not sure either made a clear distinction so that the 'not-Brainard' vote will go to one or the other.

The voting machine was an electronic one, and, with all the controversy regarding electronic voting, I was interested to check it out. It wasn't the prominent Diebold, but instead a Microvote Infinity. It as easy to use, though the screen didn't have a lot of contrast, so I could see those with poor vision complaining. A nice lady poll worker did explain how to vote with the machine, to take away all confusion.

And, I was so bummed that I didn't get an "I VOTED" sticker.

1 comment:

Becca said...

What a great analysis, Joanna. I hope lots of people in Carmel are well informed. Too bad you didn't have a strong opposing candidate. I think many cities are falling into the trap of attracting more people for the entertainment/spending value--instead of improving what is already in place!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin