Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Magical Pencil, or Another One for the Italian Things That Make You Go "Hmmmmm?" File

When I voted in last year's US Presidential elections with my absentee ballot via email, none of my Italian friends/family/colleagues/students/etc. believed that such a thing could be legal. "Voting by email!?," they'd say. "How anti-privacy! How unsafe! That's not how democracy works!" Their basic claim was that here in Italy so many safeguards are put in place to make sure someone's vote is 100% secure and private. (Keep in mind, my application process to vote absentee started many months in advance and involved background checks, SSN requirements, a trip to the US Consulate, maybe even some fingerprints, and a special web address to cast my e-ballot.) Nevertheless, Italy's general pushback against fully embracing the internet was in full effect during these discussions.

Well, wow - you can imagine the look of amazement on my face today when I went to vote in the Bologna Mayoral elections and the EU Parliamentary elections and they handed me A PENCIL to mark my ballots. A PENCIL. But not just any pencil. A pencil required by law. A pencil that (supposedly) can't be erased. A magical pencil, if you will.

I still don't know if it's a genius invention, or one big con. Whatever the case, I voted (proudly, because I like voting - magical pencils notwithstanding). Whether or not someone's erasing my votes as you read this... let's save that for another blog post.


Here's to you, Democracy.

P.S. Ok, yes it's a little fun to make fun of the voting pencil, but I must admit, Italy's policy of automatically registering its citizens to vote as soon as they reach the age of 18 is very, very cool.

P.P.S. Did anyone else notice that the ballot in the above picture is too big for the box?

3 comments:

delicatecondition said...

Oh man, I'm really into this blog.

The ballot represents the, um, idea...of democracy....which is too large and grand to be contained in any box? Is that what it means?

nicole said...

Hello! My name is Nicole (Sherwin)...Gelsie is my godmother(and told me to check out your blog) and I wanted to get in touch with Giancarlo because I am honeymooning in Italy this coming August...I wanted to get some pointers and such from you guys....Could you please give me your email so I can get in touch?
Thanks!
Nicole

Polideuce said...

la matita in questione è realizzata con grafite e anilina, un colorante, e può essere cancellata solo tramite abrasione della carta, oltre a lasciare tracce di colorante, rovinando il supporto; per cui, se prima viene inumidita, una volta lasciato il segno non può essere manomessa la scheda.
La pubblicità con l'urna elettorale è solo cretina :asd:

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