Did you vote?


I received a phone call asking me to help with a last minute drive to support the Obama campaign. "Sorry," I said, "I'm working in China right now."

I was excited to have my opportunity vote, despite living in another country. But after my trip to the Post Office I began to wonder about the cost.

In China I make nearly 1400 yuan, which is fancy Chinese talk for $200. But living here and spending the money makes its value much stronger than it seems. I would argue that one could treat my salary as dollars. Lunches cost me 5 yuan (America $5) and making copies 3 jiao (America .03 c), so I feel that my salary of 1400 yuan is like living in America on $1400 (not bad, right?).

In the Post Office they wanted 187 yuan to send my ballot to America via Airmail. If you want to do the calculation that's fine (just divide by 6.8), but I try not to think of it that way. The truth is, I just spent 187 dollars to send in a ballot that might not even be counted (who knows how long it will really take).

But it was worth it. Absolutely.

The faces of my students made me feel good about America. Their wonder that I could vote from China was clear. They seemed to understand the importance of this rare moment of American democracy. One student looked at my ballot and spoke rapid Chinese to everyone else. I only caught one phrase: "This way is better."

I guess my only disappointment is not receiving one of those little stickers: "I voted."

Post Office Receipts


alison said...

What? We sent ours two weeks ago for about Y15 each. So, either your vote will actually get there (ours won't), or you paid way too much.

Dustin said...


I sent it by air, not boat.