Rocking the Amish Vote

Last Tuesday I left work a few minutes early and drove to the Leacock Township Administration Building in Gordonville, PA to vote. As a faithful reader of Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com blog, I was fairly confident that my vote was nothing more than a matter of principle. Silver had predicted the day before that Obama would win by a 349-189 margin (as it turned out, the final electoral count was 365-173).

Barack Obama was going to win this thing handily whether I voted for McPalin, Obiden, or Will Ferrell.

Upon arriving at the poll, I was happy to see only a handful of people ahead of me in line. Then I noticed one person in particular, an Amish man, standing there with a boy who was probably his son. This struck me as odd because I assumed that Amish folks didn’t vote. I knew most of them didn’t pay Social Security (or receive its benefits), so I figured they didn’t vote either.

(As it turns out, some of them do vote. According to Erik Wesner’s Amish America blog, voter turnout among the Amish is typically around 10%. It’s a pretty low number, but it’s 10% higher than I thought it was.)

As I approached the registration table, I overheard the poll worker asking the Amish man if he wanted to vote electronically or by paper. I laughed to myself, wondering if the Amish guy was offended by the question. “You keep your cursed voltage away from me! Charged Electrons are the juice of the devil!” I leaned in further to hear his actual response, but unfortunately I could not.

After signing in, I asked to be placed in the electronic voting line and I was given a printed ticket with an access code for the voting machine. The man who handed it to me told me I was next in line, and that I could use the machine as soon as the man currently voting was finished. I looked up and guess who was using the touchscreen in the electronic voting booth?

Well what do you know? I guess watts and amps aren’t the tools of the devil after all!

For a snarkier look at Living with the Amish, check out my Living With the Amish Pictures.

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  • http://tothetuneoftim.blogspot.com/ Tim McGeary

    Bryan, I would be right there with you to assume the Amish didn’t vote. I thought they believed in separation of church and state and used that to hold onto to their separation and independence from the world.

    But I also believed the Amish were against all sorts of technology, and I was surprised and impressed when one time last year I saw a program on the PCN network from E-town College called “Amish and Technology” and saw just how much technology the Amish actually do embrace and use technology in certain ways. Very fascinating.

    And I want to thank you for disregarding that sign in your first picture of no cameras or cell phones. I’m glad that you practice some civil disobedience for the good of the blog. ;)

    Cheers,
    Tim

  • Chad Fisher

    Hey bro, looks like you broke the rules two times over with your little amish picture shenanigans in the voting area, because if you look closely at the sign on the chair in back of the young amish lad you’ll clearly see the words “No Cameras or Cell Phones” and since we all know that you took this picture on your iPhone… anyway I got a kick out of this post and I too was shocked to see several Amish men voting when I was there as well. We all know that it was the Amish Vote for Obama that helped him Win!!

  • http://bryanallain.com/ Bryan Allain

    @ tim – yeah, the Amish sneak in some technology here and there. I guess it differs by family. Years ago my wife visited her amish cousins and they told her she looked like “Kelly from 90210″. Who knew the Amish watched 90210? not I.

    @ chad – ah, but if you look closely at the sign you’ll see it says “No Cameras or Cellphones are permitted to be used while in the Polling Area”. Since I wasn’t in the polling area yet, I think I was legal. Maybe not ethical for taking a picture of Amish people voting, but at least legal.

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  • http://www.logan.cc/blog/ Bryan Logan

    We have some Amish around here (about 40 minutes south). They come up to the Aldi here to shop. Cheap prices + no music = WIN!

    I find the Amish are a good sect of Christianity to poke fun at online. For obvious reason. This is how I poke fun at them: http://www.logan.cc/blog/2012/10/missionaries-to-amish-country/