Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Fight To Practice My Constitutional Right

Whether you feel that the election went your way or not, I think it is safe to assume that most people are pleased it is behind us.

Tuesday morning is the tail end of the incredibly busy Monday I have every week. By the time I got home from work and got my daughter off to school, I had been awake for close to 28 hours and was ready to drop. However, I wanted to vote before I went to bed fearing that I wouldn't be up again before the polls closed.

I drove to the polling place where I had last voted, but it was no longer being used. Not knowing where to go, I went back home to look it up online. The polling place locator I found did not work, but did find a polling place close to my house using a Google search.

I drove to that location and they advised me that I was not in the correct district. She pulled out a city map with the districts on it to help determine where I should be, but the map did not show my part of the city, despite being only six blocks from my house.
Driving back toward my house, I saw a sign for another polling place. Going inside, I was told it was not the correct place either, but they knew where I should go. I then drove to a place that was further away than either of the two places I had previously left. Bleary eyed, I stumbled up through the parking lot.

Thankfully, there were only six people in line in front of me. However, there seemed to be a problem for each person. It took several minutes to find their names in the book, or to get the election judge to properly hear how someone spelled their name, even though I could hear it clearly while half asleep and fifteen feet away. I guy was taken into the back of the room to fill out some additional paperwork before being allowed to vote.

When I finally reached the table and gave them my name, they couldn't find me listed in the system.

ELECTION JUDGE: Did you register to vote?

Of course, I registered. That's why I'm here.

ME: Yes.

ELECTION JUDGE: Where?

Who cares where. Does the place I registered have any effect on whether I get to vote or not?

ME: At the DMV. When I got my license, they asked if I wanted to register to vote. I said, "YES."

ELECTION JUDGE: When was that?

Once again, who cares? I pulled out my license to show them when I got it.

ELECTION JUDGE: Have you moved?

ME: Didn't I just show you my license?

Because they could find no record of me in their system or produce any voter card with my name on it, they had me call the circuit clerk's office to see what the problem was. Once I gave her my name, I was informed that they had me down as INACTIVE. When I asked why she said, "I don't know. Have you moved."

ME: Not since I moved to where I am now.

Seriously, how are you supposed to answer that question?

She asked me a serious of questions I had trouble concentrating on, but finally told me I could vote a full ballot once the election judges had me fill out some new paperwork. I returned to the table to tell them what I was told and instructed them that they could call in if they had any questions.

They asked me what form I was supposed to fill out.

I don't know.

They continued to ask me questions about proper paperwork and procedure. I answered every question the same way. I DON'T KNOW. I would then remind them that they could call in to the circuit clerk's office if they had any questions.


While they were trying to figure out what should be done with me, the judges would apologize and say they had to get other people through. They would then stop working with me and start getting other people through the line. I would remind them again that they could call into the circuit clerk's office to learn exactly what to do.

After shuffling through another dozen voters, one of them asked me, "Now, what were we doing with you?"

I explained the problem again and she started in with the same questions they had already asked me. She then asked me what form I needed to fill out. I was growing very tired, had been there over an our and was losing patience.

ME: Don't you guys have to take a class to be an election judge? You tell me what form I need.

Flustered, she produces a paper and starts filling it out asking my name and address. About halfway through it, I see the top of the paper states that it is for people who have moved in the last 30 days. She was not happy when I pointed out that it was not the correct form.

They start shuffling more people past me and I speak up demanding that one of the judges help me and stay with me until I am taken care of. I wasn't asking for special treatment, I just wanted them to stop pushing me to the side unnecessarily extending my wait time. An elderly woman who had been sitting in the back of the room was assigned to assist me. She found the proper form fairly quickly, but seemed to be baffled as to how to fill it out. I told her I was more than happy to fill it out for myself, but she advised it had to be done by an appointed election judge.

I had to locate the address line for her and it still took about 5 minutes of me repeating my address for her over and over for her to get it down on paper. We spent over 10 minutes on that form and all that was needed was my name, address, and a signature. Despite me locating the signature line, she wouldn't let me sign it until she looked at it, but couldn't locate it even when I showed her. I eventually just took it and signed it. I was then handed a FEDERAL ONLY ballot.

I informed them that the circuit clerk advised me I could vote a full ballot. They said it was not possible. I reminded them again that they could call in if they had any questions. After an hour and 20 minutes, I had just reached the point where I was starting to raise my voice. I didn't want to. It was happening against my will. This was ridiculous.

When they insisted again that I could only vote federal, I strained to keep the words in my mouth. I pulled out my phone dialed the circuit clerk and handed the phone to the judge. Within seconds, she learned that I was telling the truth and gave me the correct ballot.

As I started toward the voting booth, one of the judges directed me toward the line for the booth. I shot her my best dirty look and growled, "You have got to be kidding. I have been here an hour longer than anyone else in this building." I shrugged her off and ducked into the nearest booth. Five minutes later I was driving back home grateful* that I got to be a part of the political process.

*Hopefully, the sarcasm is noticed and appreciated.


Sunday, I posted a picture and asked for my readers to suggest captions for it. Here are the responses in no particular order.

After a grueling thirteen hour procedure,
the surgical team finally removed from Mr. Johnson's intestines
a lifetime of swallowed bubble gum.

Red of Doesn't Speak Klingon - Blue Man Group had a few wild nights with Red Woman Group, and the result was a bunch of magenta performance-artist kids.

Youngman Brown -  What your rubber band ball looks like when you are on acid.

Ken Degner of Ken-inatractor - Despite all her efforts to show her friends a good time, it turns out Hanna didn't quite think her plan for the bubblegum slumber party all the way through to the end.

Rachel of When A Lion Sleeps, Let It Sleep -  I knew we should have planned our Halloween costumes instead of keeping them secret!

Marianne of We Band of Mothers - Debbie Allen, banned from the Oscars, seeks validation from new interpretive dance, "Gum on Shoe."

Heather of Creative Devolution - ...but the groomsmen refused the unitards and as a result the wedding party was off balace visually. Talk about Death of a Vision.

Neal of Raised By My Daughter - Help, please. Every time we move, the cords get a little bit tighter.

Voix of Vois de Michèle - Spandau Ballet reunion tour coming soon!

Mrs. Luttrell of The Coffee Blogs - Don't mess with the pink ninjas...we WILL CUT YOU!

Jamie Miles -  All I can think of is the inside of a stomach on some strange Pepto Bismol commerical.

Tomekha of Inside Out -  Pink Panther gymnastics

Angela Ryan of Not Appropriate for All Audiences - Bubble Gum Ballet


18 comments:

  1. Sounds like you may have found the identity-erasing program that Ann Hathaway was looking for. You could sell it for a lot of money. Or steal a lot of money and move comfortably and anonymously to an exotic locale.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would have no problem disappearing from the system if there wasn't all the inconveniences that go along with not existing.

      Delete
  2. After all that trouble for voting, I hope that you're at least happy with the results. Or even if you're not, I hope that you're happy that you were able to have a say in it. I'm personally just happy that it's over.

    ReplyDelete
  3. dude, seriously...what is up with your luck?! i take it for granted that at least 80% of the people i deal with are going to be some sort of asinine but you apparently have to work just to exist in the best buy and voter line universe. color me impressed with your wherewithal ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would have pitched a fit, but didn't think it would help. It would probably have just gotten me thrown out and I really wanted to vote.

      Delete
  4. You are to be commended for keeping at it until you finally, finally got to vote a full ballot in a booth. I think most people would have given up at the first incorrect polling location!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I was buying a product I would have quit, but this was more important.

      Delete
  5. This is crazy and I thought my quick two minute arguement with the judge was unwarranted. I would have been loud and obnoxious five mintues in. They announced the winner prior to our polls even being closed. I vote because I know the local and state issues matter, but it is so disheartning when my vote for President doesn't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was watching the news and they gave to to Obama as soon as he took Ohio. I guess Romney didn't have a chance after that.

      I live in Illinois and knew weeks ahead of time that my state would go overwhelmingly for Obama. Whether I voted for him or not, the outcome would be the same, but there were some big local issues I wasn't about to walk away from.

      Delete
    2. Yeah - like that judge who assaulted the security guard? She was retained in Cook County by like 68% of the vote. What's wrong with voters??

      Delete
  6. And in the end it didn't matter anyway... wah wah wah lol sorry that sucks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh my goodness. After and hour of waiting, I would not have handled the situation with as much grace as you did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was a young guy working there that said, "You're being really patient. Thank you for not yelling."

      I told him that I knew how to yell and was not above doing it, but didn't think it would be helpful in this situation.

      Trust me. They were well aware of my disgust.

      Delete
  8. I am so happy that it is over, hoping Facebook starts to calm down a bit.

    I liked the "I voted" sticker the best. It would be nice if we got stickers for everything we did...like eating donuts.

    "I ate a donut."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want a bumper sticker that says

      I didn't beat my kid today. Give me a cookie!

      Delete
    2. ...or a $25 Walgreens gift card?

      Delete

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