liv: cast iron sign showing etiolated couple drinking tea together (argument)
[personal profile] liv
Generally good voting experience today. My polling station is the student union, and I was a bit disconcerted to see the square outside the building filled with canvassers. They assured me they were technically outside the exclusion zone, because the polling station was using the accessible entrance at the other side of the building. Still, it did mean potential voters approaching from the obvious direction would pretty much have to go through a gallery of hawkers shouting which way to vote and thrusting leaflets at them, which is the sort of thing that exclusion zones are supposed to prevent. Mostly Labour and Green, as they're the two major contenders here.

The polling station was indeed accessible to wheelchair users, though the dropped kerb was in a puddle (not the election officers' fault that it's raining, this is a general problem with student union), and they'd put the Polling Station sign kind of in the middle of the ramp, making it potentially a slightly awkward turn in a wheelchair. I wouldn't like to vote in the SU ballroom if I had a sensory disability, though, it's a big, echoey, very poorly lit space.

I deliberately chose what I thought would be a fairly quiet time of day, when the showery rain was definitely on the side of rain, mid-morning and in the middle of the hour so not likely to fall just after a class ended. Even so, there was a queue of about a dozen people ahead of me, and the officers commented that they couldn't remember seeing so many people at this polling station in previous elections.

While I was waiting there, I saw them politely and helpfully turn away a student who didn't speak English fluently and hadn't realized that she needed to register. And I didn't want to eavesdrop too much but one of them was on the phone trying to sort out another voter's problems with registration, explaining that she could still vote if it could get sorted by 5 today.

When it came to my turn I explained that I'd already cast a postal vote in another constituency, so I just wanted the borough and parish ballot papers. The information that I'm dual registered was not recorded anywhere, which is probably as it should be, but the officer was mildly confused, though rose to the occasion. He did joke, "oh, good thing you're so honest", which I thought inappropriate, so I said in my most carrying voice "well, I'm hardly going to commit electoral fraud, am I?"

And then I walked home through the bluebell wood as the sun came out after the rain, and felt at least briefly good about myself, though I'm still dreading pretty much any likely outcome of this election.

FYI, if you're thinking of voting in the UK:
  • [personal profile] naath has clear and useful information. In fact, I'm particularly grateful to her for explaining that I, and others in my position, can in fact vote in local elections in two different places, as long as you only vote once in the General Election. Also to [livejournal.com profile] ghoti for clarifying ambiguities in the rules

  • [personal profile] lethargic_man put up on FB the following summary of major policies. Sorry for the image of text; here's a transcription. 38degrees are not entirely politically neutral but they're not affiliated with any one party either and do try to give relatively unbiased information. Of course there is bias in what they consider to be the six "key issues", and I think it's not quite a coincidence that their table comes out with all ticks under Labour and Green and mostly crosses for Con and UKIP. But at least they're not outright lying about what the parties intend to do. I also can't easily find data for Wales, Scotland or NI or at least not for the parties that are only standing in the regions.

  • Election forecast has reasonably detailed and reasonably unbiased electoral predictions, based on reputable polls and quoted with confidence intervals. I mean, polls are only as good as polls ever are, but again, it's a site that's not actively lying in order to try to influence potential tactical votes. They're predicting a Conservative plurality (and a zero percent chance of a majority government!), and they probably know what they're talking about more than me with my prediction of a Labour plurality.

  • [livejournal.com profile] ewx has a nice summary of election leaflets for Cambridge.

    I'm also extremely grateful to everybody who's volunteered for the election, campaigning, voter education and all that proper boots on the ground activism stuff, especially people like [personal profile] cjwatson and [personal profile] naath who got up scarily early this morning to distribute Good Morning leaflets before most people leave for work. And grateful to everyone who has voted or will be voting for a better society today, even if we disagree about which party is most likely to deliver that. And I appreciate my friends who've explained why they support they party they do in detail and without just repeating party slogans. [personal profile] rmc28 and [personal profile] davidgillon come to mind especially, but just everybody who has had civilized, thoughtful discussions about fraught issues, you're making democracy better and you deserve kudos.
  • (no subject)

    Date: 2015-05-07 12:01 pm (UTC)
    ayebydan: by <user name="pureimagination"> (fili)
    From: [personal profile] ayebydan
    Our family always go together after dinner and take the dogs with us. Mum and I go in first and then go and dog sit. Our local station is a primary school so it is fantastic for access which is awesome. However, the ...shelf(?) that you put your paper itself on is too high for someone in a wheelchair I think, or indeed for those with dwarfism. I'm now curious as to how that is handled because I know there wheelchair users and little people in this sector.

    I've not said much, which is rare for me, because well I'm just exhausted with it all by now but also because of the way the SNP is being demonised by everyone all over the country. It has been really awkward and irritating to see. I feel like if the Tories get back in there will be a lot of 'it is Scotland's fault' going on.

    I got really confused for a second there! I forgot you vote for multiple things in England at the general election. I'm pretty sure we vote for councils and such later. Not that it matters. I know where I'd vote if the paper did appear. In fact I'm excited about council elections because there are mutterings of the Greens getting in our seat. Sadly everything else is part of 'the bigger picture' that looms above us and sometimes means Scotland's vote these days is not entirely as it seems.

    (no subject)

    Date: 2015-05-07 01:57 pm (UTC)
    davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
    From: [personal profile] davidgillon
    38degrees are not entirely politically neutral but they're not affiliated with any one party either and do try to give relatively unbiased information. Of course there is bias in what they consider to be the six "key issues",

    Disabled people had to take them to task a few years ago over blatant manipulation of what they considered important (badgers yes, disability cuts not so much, never mind the actual voting on their site). I accidentally ended up leading that, but sad to say little changed and I ultimately felt their response to me was being used as an excuse to do nothing else. I don't have much time for them these days :(

    And I appreciate my friends who've explained why they support they party they do in detail and without just repeating party slogans. [personal profile] rmc28 and [personal profile] davidgillon come to mind especially

    :)

    (no subject)

    Date: 2015-05-07 03:43 pm (UTC)
    naath: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] naath
    Scarily there were a number of people who were clearly up-and-about their day by the time I was out leafleting (at the recommended 0600ish, even if I felt like doing it early it feels incivil to be waking people up with rattling letterboxes in the middle of the night). I feel very lucky about my usually quite late starts! I hope reminding people that it is TODAY helps get-out-the-vote (I imagine it does, why else do the LDs spend so much volunteer time/good-will on doing it)

    Also huzzah for election in *May*, it was light before I dragged myself out of bed.

    I think our polling station is reasonably accessible - there's a ramp but a 90 degree turn that might be a bit tight and there is a low desk for people who need/prefer it. Plus it's quite a small church, not huge and echo-ey. There was no queue at peak "taking the kids to school" time when I voted; I'm Telling 2000-2200, maybe it will be busy then.

    (no subject)

    Date: 2015-05-07 09:21 pm (UTC)
    naath: (Default)
    From: [personal profile] naath
    Oh, no knocking. Just leaflets. Knocking scares me.

    (no subject)

    Date: 2015-05-07 09:49 pm (UTC)
    rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
    From: [personal profile] rmc28
    I don't particularly like knocking, although it's generally not that bad. Today I had one verbally hostile person ("we've never voted LibDem and we never will, I don't know why we're on your list"), two people shut the door in my face, but most people I spoke to were polite-to-friendly and a few memorable people were just lovely.

    I just run out of ability to do it after a while. I think telling I last a lot longer because it's such a limited interaction (and often I can share the talk-to-strangers with other tellers). But interrupting someone in their home to ask questions is a lot more intrusive and I run out of cope with it much sooner.

    Today's thought: if voting were compulsory, telling would be unnecessary, and the whole canvassing-GOTV process would probably change in obvious and non-obvious ways.

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    Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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