Keeping the world safe for democracy

There is a general election in three week’s time. Now I still haven’t installed any digital connection in my recently acquired televsion set, so it has taken the place of the IKEA table – lurking in the corner judging me for my procrastination in getting it hooked up. As a result I am not watching any TV news so my current affairs knowledge is limited to http://www.thejournal.ie website. And there have been rumblings on there about the vote for the past several weeks.

As I made my way to the bus this morning, I noticed that every lamp-post had overnight been defiled with posters of smiling political candidates. I made a mental note of their names, thinking to myself that I must remember these ones, to ensure that I don’t vote for any of them. It’s reverse publicity in a way – the more I see a candidate polluting the streets with their moronic signs, the less I want to vote for them.  The election had obviously been called, and like flies around shite the politicos started buzzing.

This was merely petty whinging in my head however. I am not registered to vote in Dublin – my assumption was that the election was to be held on a Friday, so I would traverse the country in the Big Green Bus to Limerick and vote there.

I arrived at work. I poured myself a cup of coffee. I switched on my computer and checked the news website. The election is to be on Friday 26th February – the opening night of my little play. Now that’s annoying – I really wanted to vote. This is my 1st election since my return – and the first general election I will have voted in, in almost 18 years.

This is not due to laziness or apathy on my part. As an Irish citizen I am not allowed to vote in Dutch national elections – but I always made sure to vote in the local, and European elections. Ireland is one of the few countries which makes no provision whatsoever for its foreign living citizen to vote. The only way an Irish person living abroad can vote in an Irish election is to physically travel there – no postal voting, no embassy voting, zilch. In the 15 years I lived in Holland I voted in Ireland twice – once for the most recent presidential election – which I coincidentally was at home for, on the right date. And once for the gay marriage referendum – where I bought a plane ticket to make sure I could participate.

So I was a touch peeved to think that my laziness in registering to vote at my new address, and the fact that the play was on that very date, would prevent my participation in selecting the next shower of con-artists and swindlers.

Until the interweb told me that I have 4 days in which to change my polling station. I filled in the form. I borrowed an envelope from work. I found out the address where to post it. I trawled the length and breadth of the city to find a shop where you can buy a stamp. I thought shops sold stamps. How wrong I was. How very, very wrong.  I eventually sourced some in a hideous Oirish tourist shop where they sell toy leprechauns – they sell postcards, so being of a clever nature I guessed they might sell stamps. I hope no-one I know saw in that shop. How would I ever live down the utter shame of it.

The nice policeman stamped my form at the station.

All going to plan I will be voting in three weeks time Not certain how useful my vote will be seeing as I will be choosing candidates who can’t afford campaign posters.

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