Yes, it's that time. The day you get to vote and finally stop seeing all those ads urging you to call some political candidate or other and tell them they suck. This seems to be the new trend in negative political ads this year.
One of my friends wondered what the point of that was. I said, they don't seriously expect you to call the person and tell them they suck, it just puts the candidate in a subordinate position when the ad says to call them up and tell them to stop selling out social security or whatever the scare tactic du jour is.
I pointed out the media has a command-oriented outlook: "Don't you dare miss our sale" said a recent radio ad for a car dealer here in New Mexico. The media favors imperative forms, linguistically speaking. People use imperative form most often to order people around.
As I walked through the chapel on the way to an auditorium to vote, I noticed two things: that musty chapel smell (hymnals?) and a cute girl on a cell phone sitting near the entrance.
On leaving, she asked me to fill out a survey, which I did. I chatted her up a bit and discovered she was a political science major from my alma mater, UNM.
Speaking of the media, the survey was ran by the Voter News Service, a consortium of a bunch of media, who took a lot of flak for their predictions on the presidential election night in 2000. Of course, it turns out some people think Voter News Service is a monopoly. They don't appear to have a web site, but here's their logo:
Rumors that their new computer system is behind schedule on the programming seem to have come true: in a breaking story posted as I write this, Salon.com says the VNS folks have given up on exit polling for this election [Link gone 03/25/2003]. Oh well, there goes my data. It's not the first time a computer has eaten my data. Having been the victim of at least one death march, I sympathize with the programmers given the impossible task.
Interestingly enough, Batelle Memorial, the company that won the contact, has also worked on lottery machines. Oddly enough, I could find nothing about Batelle's work for the Voters News Service on their site.