Maybe it is because I grew up in New Jersey where political manipulation runs rampant. Or maybe it is because I remember the Chicago of Mayor Daley. Or maybe it is because at this point in my life I’m cynical and see corruption and conspiracy behind lots of doors. Whatever the reason,something happened today that made me angrier than hell.
Today, Sunday, April 17 is voting day in Italy. There is only one item on the ballot. Thank you Wikipedia for laying it out –
A referendum on oil and natural gas drilling will be held in Italy on 17 April 2016. The referendum proposes repealing the law that allows gas and oil drilling concessions extracting Hydrocarbon within 12 nautical miles of the Italian coast to be prolonged until the exhaustion of the useful life of the fields.
It will be the first referendum requested by at least five Regional Councils in the history of the Italian Republic: all the previous 66 referendum questions since 1974 were required after collection of signatures of citizens.
So this is green legislation, and doesn’t make big oil companies happy, I’m guessing skids can be greased. Look at the skids greased in Washington. Here is what pissed me off. My niece is here and wanted to vote. She needed to get a tessera elettorale – like a voters registration card. Because of the election, the municipio was open. Now there are two ways to walk there – which is also how you walk to the polling place. One is the lower easy walking medieval viale – which takes un-athletic me five minutes. The second requires legs of steal, is up hill and longer. Guess which road was closed? You got it, we walked the lower road and came to a temporary barricade that closed the road. Of course, we walked around it! Because we did not see anything wrong with the road, we continued on. A group of young men were right behind us. Eventually, however, we came to barricades that were a fixed between two buildings. One of the young men leaped over it and offered to help us over it. We were 30 seconds from the municipal building. Since I didn’t want to give them hernias, we walked back the way we came. There was no way I could walk up the other street. Alex grabbed a pal and went on.
Here is my conspiracy theory. In researching, before I voted absentee a few weeks ago in the USA, I discovered –
Il referendum è valido se si raggiunge il quorum ovvero se un determinato numero di persone si reca a votare.
That essentially means the referendum is only valid if a quorum of Italian citizens who are able to vote – actually vote! So if car-less folks want to walk they can’t. I mean they can, but is more difficult. If you want to easily access the municipal building you can’t. So, less people vote and maybe then there isn’t the necessary quorum for the referendum. I wonder if there are some types of road blocks to voting in lots of town?
Here is a road block that happened to my sister and I. We got our absentee ballots and noted you voted Si or No. Just like double negatives have peppered American referendums, we immediately thought – we don’t want those rigs off our coast we will vote no! Oops, it is a vote to “repeal” the law so we would have to vote yes. Even some Italians I spoke to here agree that if you are not paying attention it is easy to get confused.
Just like the majority of windmills- which now predominant some vistas are in the south and appear absent in the north – it looked like most of the drilling is in the south. Hmm.
After I took a breath I thought, maybe it is not a conspiracy – maybe they repaired the road 4 months ago and forgot to take the barriers down. I mean, Questa è Italia.
PS. My niece was told she couldn’t vote because she lives abroad and even though she was here in person, she should have voted absentee. One less body count toward a quorum.