We have a presidential election coming up, and elections can be strange and confusing. So I thought I’d put together an FAQ to answer everyone’s election questions.
When were elections first started?
Elections were first started in ancient Greece by people who had the idea to let a populace pick its leaders.
They’re all dead now.
Early on, these were called “lections,” but after the introduction of electronic voting, they became known as “eLections”.
Do all countries have elections?
Pretty much. Even dictatorships like to have pretend elections because they’re so darn fun!
In the U.S., do we have an election every year?
Sort of. Every four years we have a presidential election, which is a big deal, and everyone pays attention to it. On the even-numbered years between presidential elections, we have midterm elections, in which we vote on all the congressional representatives and about a third of the senators. This is a big deal to people who follow politics but isn’t followed nearly as closely by the population at large as a presidential election is. On odd-numbered years, we have off-year elections. These are mainly local elections, though some gubernatorial races occur in these elections. It’s sort of like how some cable shows run during the summer when the big networks are in reruns to help draw bigger audiences. It doesn’t work, though; no one cares about off-year elections. They’re stupid. Don’t vote in them.
Why do presidential elections use the Electoral College?
There’s a very specific reason for that. Instead of journalists having to spread out across the country to monitor the moods of voters, they can just focus on the few battleground states and ignore all the rest. Media-wise, it’s much more manageable.
Who can vote?
Don’t you need to be of a certain age and have a certain citizenship status?
What do I need in order to vote?
You need a photo ID (not for voting but for buying booze afterwards), special voting gloves and hat, and the voting guide from your local union.
Unions are still a thing?
How long does it take to count the votes?
Thanks to advanced exit polling, the results of an election can be known as soon as the polls close, but the votes can still be counted if we want to be pedantic about it.
What happens in case of a tie?
Then the winner is settled by a hot dog eating contest. That’s why you see Chris Christie get so excited when he’s in a close race.
What happens if–
Chris Christie is fat.
I got that. So what happens if the candidate I support isn’t elected?
Then you make loud accusations of fraud.
How can I be sure there was fraud?
Did you really, really want your candidate to be elected?
Then it was fraud.
What if he lost by a large margin?
Then that just means there was a lot of fraud, and you should scream about it even louder, like that massive amount of fraud that put the one true progressive, Alan Grayson, out of office in 2010.
Should we take extra measures to combat voter fraud, then? I thought I heard that you don’t even need a photo ID to vote.
No, requiring a photo ID is a stupid idea.
Why? It just seems like common sense.
No, it’s racist sense.
How in the world is that racist?
Think about it: Why would someone want an ID with a photo of you on it? So they could see by the photo what race you are.
I’m not sure you’re making any sense.
Fighting racism is so important that you can’t always worry about making sense. Anyway, another reason photo IDs are racist is that minorities have trouble getting photo IDs.
Why would minorities have a hard time getting photo IDs?
Because… um… minority stuff that you just wouldn’t understand, cracker.
Considering all the things one needs a photo ID for, such as writing a check, boarding an airplane, and even purchasing cold medicine, if people care about minorities, shouldn’t they focus on getting them photo IDs rather than blocking the requirement for having a photo ID to vote?
No, because… um…
This is pointless. This type of voter fraud never even happens anyway. It’s science fiction. I mean, someone going to the polls and pretending to be someone else is like some sort of space alien that changes shape — that’s just crazy.
To me it seems like a really easy way to commit voter fraud that should be prevented.
No, that’s crazy, and you’re crazy. The type of voter fraud I mentioned earlier is the kind where Dick Cheney and Diebold work together to reprogram voting machines, or like when the Republicans confused old people with a butterfly ballot.
I thought the butterfly ballot was made by a Democrat and that it was so simple that even children had no problem with it.
No, that’s… shut up. The point is, the 2000 presidential election was stolen.
I’ve heard Democrats assert that many times, but in a country where democracy is such a sacred value, if people honestly thought the 2000 presidential election was stolen, wouldn’t they have done more than whine about it for years on end?
It wasn’t whining! It was making a point over and over at a higher pitch so as to be heard!
The point is that Republicans are always trying to discourage people from voting, but we need to get as many people to the polls as possible.
Why? Isn’t it bad to have people who don’t follow politics voting?
No, that’s a silly thought. We want everyone to vote who can. I mean, we need to scrutinize overseas military ballots, but otherwise we need to open the floodgates and make it as easy as we can for everyone to vote. Rock the vote!
I don’t know. It seems like we should be suspicious of a political party that tries to get as many uninformed people to the polls as possible.
No, that’s… you’re racist.
Do you just accuse someone of racism any time you can’t come up with a logical response to a question?
What exactly is it about black people that you don’t like?
Look, voting has to be made easier. Right now, voting takes a marginal amount of effort, such as driving to a polling place or requesting a mail-in ballot ahead of time. This disenfranchises a special group of people in America: really, really lazy people. We need to eventually make elections more like internet polls — ones that pop up on Facebook or Twitter so people don’t have to look for them — so lazy people can all vote.
Why would we want lazy people to vote? Aren’t they just going to vote to have my stuff since they’re too lazy to get their own stuff?
That’s more racist thinking. You just want to keep minorities from voting.
I wasn’t talking about minorities; I was talking about lazy people.
Which I know you meant to be minorities.
Well, apparently when you heard “lazy people,” you thought of minorities, so you’re probably the racist.
No, I know I’m not racist. So when a racist idea pops into my head, that’s obviously what other people — people I know to be racist — are thinking.
I believe that’s called “projection.”
Stop using your racist mind tricks on me!