Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting Hell

I keep making posts, and my computer keeps freezing up! Sorry for the disappearance.

Boy, my voting experience today really burned me up. I'm so trying to laugh at it. I really am. Two people 'confused' the election people by asking for a new ballot to change their votes ... makes me wonder if it had anything to with an experience similar to mine ...

For some odd reason, everyone telling me to vote is getting on my nerves. Look, I'm going to vote already. Do you think I'm stupid? Do you think I'm an irresponsible citizen? And heck, even if I decided not to vote, that's my right, too. I don't like anyone on the ballot. Not a single person. And I don't know anyone I'd write in, either. So I just voted for Senator and a couple issues that were important to me.

If it weren't for those issues that I actually cared about, I wouldn't have voted. I'll vote if I want to, and not vote if I don't want to. I don't know why this bothers me, because I've missed maybe one election in my adult life, if that? I guess I don't like being told what to do, LOL.

Anyway, we vote in this archaic place that doesn't even use chad technology; you have to fill in the little circles. So I go up, hand over my driver's license, sign in six places, and they finally give me the ballot.

While I'm writing in/on the wobbly booth, I hear my name. I turn, and DH is patiently waiting while one election worker is confused (and bless her soul, I know she's volunteering, but she's at every election. Goodness, but I hate to say it. I hate to say it because she's volunteering. Okay, I'm going to say it. She shouldn't be allowed!!!).

"What number does spyscribbler have?" she yells to the whole room.

Standing Election Worker says, "100. She has the right number next to her name; don't change it."

I turn back to my ballot to wade through the language of a tax levy.

"Scribbler?" she asks Standing Election Worker, "Is she 103?"

My DH is standing good-naturedly, waiting to get his ballot. The lines are piling up, and no one is getting a ballot while Confused is trying to make a mess of an organized system. How did DH get to be so patient?

Standing Election Worker says again, "Don't change spyscribbler, she's 100."

I shake my head at the fact that while, in theory, one is supposed to be relatively anonymous and allowed privacy while voting, in reality, thirty people in line know that I'm voting.

I go back to reading. It takes me awhile, because I'm one of those must-read-every-damn-word kind of person. About ten minutes later, I suddenly realize that DH is still waiting. I hear my name again!

I turn. "I'm 100. The same number you wrote down the first time," I say, getting a little ruffled. The people in line start grumbling and eyeing me, as if I'm the one who's causing a hold-up.

Confused shakes her head. "You're spyscribbler?" she calls to me. I nod. "What number is on your ballot?"

Dear God. I take a deep breath and manage not to growl or yell. "One hundred."

I shake my head and go back to coloring in the circles. I heard my name, I kid you not, several more times, as Confused asked Standing Election Worker my number. Standing Election Worker kept repeating, ad nauseum, that my ballot number was correct. Confused kept changing it, ad nauseum. It was perplexing, really.

I finished, and DH finally got his ballot. I took my ballot to the guy standing and waiting for it. I hand it to him, since last time, I kid you not, we had to slip them in a box.

He looks at me kind of snotty. "This your first election?"

I stared at him, thinking, okay, I missed one election because I was on vacation. But last time this stupid place had us throw these stupid ballots in a box. For the entire fifteen years before that, I've voted in places with competent workers, and much less archaic voting processes than this place. Sad when chad technology is a step up.

None of that passed by my must-be-polite filter, so I just managed a strangled, "No."

He instructed me to slide it in this scanning thing. "You made a mistake!" he calls to the entire room. "You didn't vote for a judge!"

I bite my tongue. I think, boy, my voting results sure are private. I cast a look over to the line, still glaring at me because they believe it's my fault that the line is held up, since the lady kept calling my name out in confusion.

"No mistake," I say. "One is allowed to abstain from choosing between two candidates that one doesn't like." I have to put a smile on my face at this point, because my voice is starting to sound a little irked.

The machine beeps. He frowns at me. "You didn't vote for attorney general," he says. I frown back.

"There was only one choice for attorney general," he says as if I'm an idiot.

I bite my tongue and press "accept" on the machine.

It beeps again. "You didn't vote for county coroner!" he booms. Again, the room looks at me.

I smile at him. "Well, they're both new. I don't think either of them being a democrat or republican much matters, in this case. They're both unproven." I turn to the room and explain, "And they both want to cut up dead people. I don't know one freaking thing about that."

He shuts up. The room stops looking at me. I leave.

Yay for voting! I can't wait to do it next time.

9 bonus scribbles:

StarvingWriteNow 11/07/2006 06:42:00 PM  

it's tempting to move into your neighborhood just to see what those nice folks do down at the voting parlor NEXT time you come in!!

he, he, he...

voting can be a hassle, I agree. We lucked out this year and got in right before the crowds showed up. And a good thing too as five of the voting machines were out of order.

oh, the joys of technology...

spyscribbler 11/07/2006 06:46:00 PM  

Voting machines??? What are those? We don't have those. Of course, I live one street off of a major rich, white area. But two streets over is what they call a little ghetto, and that's where we vote. It's sad, but everything they say about the polls being racially biased is true. I thought it wasn't, but it is. Very, very sad.

spyscribbler 11/07/2006 07:07:00 PM  

Although, though I'm white ... so maybe just the location is biased. Still.

Karin Tabke 11/07/2006 09:00:00 PM  

Egads, Spy!!!
What a dumbass!! I was sympathetic to the volunteer until he started spewing who you didn't vote for. That is none of his damn beeswax. I didn't vote for any of the judges because bad Karin didn't do her homework and see who was for what. So I abstained.
Sheesh, sorry you had such a rough vote today. Have a martini and chalk it up to you both doing your civic duty. (oh and complain about that dumbass)

spyscribbler 11/07/2006 10:45:00 PM  

You can continue the admirable empathy for the Confused volunteer, because she didn't announce my results, only my name. Over, and over, and over. But, she was old. Very old, which is why her seniority has earned her the most important job in the lineup. *insert eye roll*

Bless her soul, but someone needs to put her on the doughnut table, manning the donations. At some point, we have to weigh seniority against the importance of the job she's been given. Someone else needs to do this job, LOL.

And the guy announcing my results?? He had NO excuse.

Karin Tabke 11/08/2006 12:00:00 AM  

:) we had the blue haired crew handeling our polling place as well. The gal handing out the ballets was also giving out the I Voted stickers. I said, "Hey, wait til I vote!"
She just smiled and stuck it on my purse.
It's still there.

Erik Ivan James 11/08/2006 06:51:00 AM  

I had a good experience voting. Usually do. I vote in a small rural township hall. Friendly, helpful people. Kinda like a pot-luck gathering without the food.

Thank you for stopping by mine the other day, Spyscribbler. I was honored.

Allison 11/08/2006 04:02:00 PM  

OMG, I'm laughing so hard I have tears.

Vote by Absentee Ballot. It's SOOOO much easier.

BTW, in California you don't have to show identification to vote. You don't even have to prove you're a citizen to register to vote. Okay, it's a pet peeve OF MINE!

spyscribbler 11/08/2006 04:24:00 PM  

I love those stickers, Karin! Why else would I vote every year? (kidding, kinda!)

Erik, I want my good experiences back! I enjoyed your blog. I added it to my list of reads.

I hear you, Allison. DH and I had a heated discussion about that. I think that it makes it much more difficult for some people who should be allowed to vote, to vote. On the other hand, I don't think illegal aliens should be able to vote. It's a hard situation!