Illustrated by Caldwell Tanner.
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By Will Stephen
What a day, America! The polls are open, the ballots freshly printed, and I’ll be darned if the air doesn’t smell just a little like democracy. It’s voting time, and that means you need to be prepared. And with the help of this handy guide, casting your vote should be no problem at all. Simply follow the instructions below, and you’ll be back at your dead end job in no time. 1. Register to vote months ago. If for some reason you did NOT register, it was very easy and you should be ashamed of yourself. Because your country surely is! [Uncle Sam giving a tsk-tsk to a man shrugging his shoulders] 2. Locate your assigned polling place. This can be done online or simply by asking a kindly stranger on the street where the nearest large, sad, indoor public facility is. Be on the lookout for middle schools, libraries, city halls, or other dungeons of stale air. [woman talking with stranger on nice street politely directing her toward horrendous, brutalist building] 3. Bring ID. You must be at least eighteen years of age and a citizen of the United States. If you are neither of these things, no one will notice or care. [picture of a little kid with like a Japanese flag t-shirt and fake moustache walking right past a police officer into building marked “VOTE HERE”] 4. Wait in line for up to three times as long as you told your boss you would take off work. Now you can take it easy, friend! Popular methods of relaxation during this time include “iPads”, books and magazines, “thumb war”, and conversation with a stranger (serious risk involved). Also feel free simply to stew in misanthropic resentment. [guy in line with fake forced smile while people around him look utterly miserable] 5. When you reach the front of the line, approach the barely breathing old woman manning the desk. Give her your name and show ID. She may not be able to read, hear, or distinguish between letters of the alphabet. If this is the case, give this gatekeeper of democracy a nice nod and thumbs up, then proceed. [picture of lady giving thumbs up to decrepit old woman - slightly drooling - with coke bottle glasses at table with list of names] 6. When inside the voting booth, you may be presented with an electronic machine, a lever system, or a paper ballot. This does not matter because your voice is meaningless in the great scheme of things. A silent scream into a bottomless pit of nothingness. Also, look out for hanging chads. [inside the voting booth - where the ballot should be there is just a black hole; voter staring at pen] [ALT: voter cubicle thing curtains opening on black hole with a ballot swirling in the center] 7. First, vote for the office of President of the United States. This should be quite straightforward. If it is not, return to step one and un-register yourself to vote. Move. Never come back. [a paper ballot with the options as - Obama/Biden ; - Romney/Ryan ; - Don’t Bother] 8. Next, vote for any Congressional candidates you may have supported or vaguely heard of during the election cycle. Sticking to party lines is not only encouraged, it is effectively law, and is often violently enforced. [Image from the ballot’s perspective of guy voting with a super jacked Republican Angel and a super weak Democrat Devil on his shoulders] 9. Now vote for local offices that you had no idea existed. This part of the paper ballot is commonly referred to as “grown-up coloring book time.” Simply find the bubbles listed under your party affiliation, and stay within the lines. And watch out, because you’ll be graded! Graded by God and country. [Shot of bubbles colored in as if a little kid had done it - shoddily filled in, with little doodles of flowers on the side, etc.] 10. Finally, vote on at least twenty laws and measures that you have not researched in the slightest. Some will be entirely irrelevant to you (i.e. anti-fishery regulations), others will have tremendous effects on the rights of people you love (i.e. whether gay people are real or not). But worry not, there is no possible way to distinguish between the two at this point. Voting “NO” is never wrong. Unless it is. Godspeed! [guy wearing blindfold filling out his ballot] 11. Now submit your ballot, thus officially rendering yourself irrelevant for another four - or, if you give a hoot about your country, two - years. Congratulations! Your job is done here. On your way out, make sure to grab an “I Voted” sticker, which is good for thirty percent off at any store in the United States for the next twenty-four hours. If a shopkeeper ignores this rule, be wary. Enemies lurk in the shadows. [Alt: just the “I voted” sticker] 12. Now sleep softly, child. Dream your sweet dreams as the world burns. [guy fast asleep with dreams of like unicorns and clouds and candy canes, etc while right outside his window there is fire and screaming people]