I cast my first US vote

Organizing my thoughts don’t come naturally and writing them down is even harder; as I tend to overthink it. I had a great blogpost in the shower one morning which I intended to finally whip up .. and Oops I published my rambling notes from the past week.

I’m the last leg of a blog chain following a conversation about voting traditions around the globe. Heidi, a natural instigator, kicked this off here from an American perspective, and then Katie posted her Australian perspective here, followed by another American perspective here and now it’s my turn in this round robin.

First i should note if you haven’t added your vote in support of fellow FanstRA blogger Melanie do so! Be sure to vote everyday, I won a give-away from her blog awhile back and if I remember correctly its via her N&S blog event we all got to know Heidi.

I also can’t pass up to mention a story of how a little town rallied to win the title of Ultimate Fishing town in America.

Let me add a disclaimer I’m not the most politically informed person, besides I feel it’s a discussion I don’t feel comforable with on social media. Hence my thought to post this outside of this blog but there is no denying that if it wasn’t for Richard Armitage being the common denominator I would possibly never have bumped into you gals in cyberspace.

I was born and raised in one of the few countries; Belgium where the vote is compulsory versus voluntary. What was interesting is that I always assumed it was because of its smallness in size. My father knew to tell me that years ago the socialist party initiated the compolsory vote with the purpose to increase voters in their favor, according to him it did not pan out that way. In theory NOT voting is punishable by law but these days it’s enforced, my father remembers differently though. As an expat I’ve only voted by mail for national elections and its only in recent years that the government made an effort in collecting those votes.

According to this Elecoral Voting Comission document from 2006 “Compulsory voting has been introduced for a number of reasons and often at times of constitutional and political change, but thedesire to maximise turnout among all sections of society seems to have been a commonobjective. It has often been implemented as a result of wider political reform such as a change in a country’s political system, as in Chile, or alongside the introduction of universal suffrage, as in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Interesting it mentions later on: “The only obvious example where an established democracy appears to have introduced compulsory voting solely in response to low voter turnouts is Australia.”

Personally I have no problem to have it compulsory. As citizen we have to pay taxes, why shouldn’t we vote and be forced to consider our choices? We are LUCKY that we can!

I know that would be unthinkable with this recent ID issue in the States, I find that a hard one to graple, how do people have bank accounts, pay bills?

But most importantly this post is meant to be anecdotal and about my impressions. People’s response to my status change from resident to citizen has been most enjoyable to observe.

Last Friday I had a dinner date with 3 other Belgian girlfriends at a French restaurant. All of us are from the Flanders (for those who are reading The Sunne In Splendour; Burgundy) We met here, two of us recently got our citizenship, one still has to, the other made sure her vote counted last election. I’ve been here more than 20 yrs, 17 as a resident and when the votes got recounted is when I wished for the first time I could vote. As a resident I receive all the benefits of a citizen except I can’t vote & I would have to pay inheritance tax, but there are lawyer ways around that.

I’d like to close this post with two songs from a Belgian artist who made an album recently called North and South referring to the complex conflict in Belgium.

I had to link this song if only in tribute to Frenz’s Ukelele love – the link here is its filming location : Hellend vlak van Ronquièrs it just doesn’t sound as nice translated in English: Ronquières inclined plane

Milow – you don’t know – Ukelele version –

Because I can’t resist linking this to something Armitage this song reminds me how some fans fear sharing our idol.

Milow – you and me :

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About Fanny/iz4blue

Classical Literature, Period dramas and historical fiction are my faves. Indie and foreign movies rank high on my list. And that is only the half of it ... oh yes, I am a bit of a music fiend .. View all posts by Fanny/iz4blue

13 responses to “I cast my first US vote

  • triski

    Very nice! And congrats on voting for your very first time as a US citizen! 😀

  • Faboamanto

    Congratulations on voting for the first time as a US citizen! I love your post, especially about voting rights and mandatory voting in Belgium and your journey to becoming a US citizen.

    I’m always surprised at the large percentage of my fellow citizens that don’t vote in the US. I think of how many people have lost their lives throughout the world and throughout history for the right to vote, and I mean vote in a true election. I think of how many in this world don’t have a say in their government and who governs. It makes me sad that so many take voting for granted, especially in local elections that really affect our daily lives.

  • april73

    Congratulations for your first voting as a US citizen. 🙂

  • AgzyM

    Congrats! See, I never knew that about you, so I’m really thankful you shared 🙂 I assumed you were American the whole time, which says a lot about assumptions LOL!
    Have I mentioned my absolute adoration for Belgian chocolate?

  • Servetus

    Don’t you miss the beer?

    The issue with a lot of these voters with “no id” isn’t so much that they have no ID at all, but that they have ID that’s been adequate in the past for other purposes, but isn’t considered so now in order to vote. When I was a teenager you could still apply for a drivers’ license in WI with a baptismal certificate — you didn’t need a state birth certificate. And that was at the beginning of photo IDs — most people still had a license with no photo on them (mid-1980s). I think they went over to forcing everyone to get a photo DL in the 1990s, but if you weren’t driving, maybe you didn’t renew your license, but the expired license was still considered legitimate ID for voting, and so on. In many states you don’t or didn’t until recently have to prove you were a citizen to get a DL, etc., etc., so in the state I’m living in now if you want to register to vote on top of the photo DL you also have to prove you’re a citizen. There are a lot of situations like that in the U.S. I actually think it wouldn’t be bad to have a national identity card but I am in the tiniest minority there.

    • Fanny/iz4blue

      It’s rather ironic that I learned to appreciate the taste of beer (bud light & Budweiser don’t qualify) in the States 😀 luckily micro brewery has improved over the years and I still fret over how awful they serve a beer (a nice 1inch head please)

      I got a drivers license years ago with a social security number, the social clearly stated not qualified for work – once I received my residency that status was removed and I retained the same number.

      As a European who had an identity card since I was 16 I was astonished how easy that was – and the driving test? Piece of cake 🙂

      • Servetus

        It’s been astounding to me that only apparently in the last few years have state employers verified their employees’ right to work with the federal gov’t (e-verify), although apparently the e-verify database has a lot of mistakes in it.

      • Fanny/iz4blue

        That’s astonishing!

        I noticed I hadn’t finished a sentence earlier; what I find more of a loss instead of beer which is somewhat replaceable, is the cafe culture

      • Servetus

        there are some cities that have a cafe culture. But most Americans don’t have time to spend during the day in a cafe …. sadly …

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