Rocking the Amish Vote

Posts List

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.