Your “X” In The Box

“Remember,” my (now late) mother lectured me some years ago, “Billy Joel said it best.”

“Huh,” I recall replying, “I’m afraid to ask about what. Something about Italian restaurants?”

He being another “real” New Yorker – and particularly a Long Islander – and not much younger than herself, my mother loved Joel’s music. [Full disclosure, I like him, too.] She paused after I’d questioned her. Suddenly, she looked puzzled.

“No. Uh, well, I don’t remember exactly,” she finally went on. “But when he said it, he said it best.”

We never did figure out what it was Billy Joel had said that she’d thought he’d said “best.” One thing I do know is while he doesn’t attempt to hide he usually supports Democrats, he also doesn’t carry on in telling his fans for whom they should vote and doesn’t think performers should generally. That at least is definitely something worth remembering.

Official ballot paper, pre-ticked. The paper has now been marked and mailed. "Our" Mrs. Nello's referendum is finished. [Photo by me, 2016.]
Official ballot paper, pre-ticked. The paper has now been marked and mailed. Mrs. Nello’s referendum is finished. [Photo by me, 2016.]

The United Kingdom remaining in the European Union or not is of course a vital question for the future and the arguments pro vs. con are becoming predictably ever more heated as the referendum day (June 23) approaches.

I’m not revealing how my British wife voted. Nor will I say how I think British voters should vote. The decision to “Leave” or to “Remain” is entirely for those voters to decide, and that’s that, and rightly so.

Flag of the European Union, left, flag of the French Republic, middle, and flag of Brittany, right. Lorient, France. [Photo by me, 2010.]
Flag of the European Union, left, flag of the French Republic, middle, and flag of Brittany, right. Lorient, France. [Photo by me, 2010.]

One thing I will offer is I like that they generally use “old-fashioned” paper ballots in elections here. Yes, it takes longer to count them, but so what. Ascertaining what voters want is important enough that we can all wait for a result for a few extra hours while the ballots are counted, and double checked, by hand.

We know of all of the variety of voting methods used from place to place across the U.S. If you’re old enough, you remember the “hanging chads” fiasco. Technology can be “overused” in our world at times.

Yes, paper ballots aren’t perfect either. Nothing’s perfect. However, marking an “X” next to your choice seems about as straightforward as a secret ballot can get.

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Author: “Conventions: The Garden At Paris,” “Passports,” “Frontiers,” and “Distances.” British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains...and the 1700s. New novel of 1797-1805, "Tomorrow The Grace," due out in 2019.

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