Tuesday, February 05, 2008


It's a four-letter word.

I hoofed it down to my polling station on Avenue D. It's in a large and looming housing project, and once inside I'm told the gi-normous voting machine (picture a double wide communist grey refridgerator) is broken, and they're "calling a technician."

I have the choice to either...wait for said technician, or go ahead and vote on an "official" paper ballot, like a scantron from high school (placed here in the extremely likely event that big bertha--our voting monstrosity- is not operating like she was back in her 1950's heydey).

"I'll just...fill in the bubbles," I tell this very unamused woman who will then look up my name. Here we go.

"Archer," I tell her. "H?" She says. "A," I repeat nicely, "For Archer."

I'm looking over her shoulder and can tell that she is whisking through the letter "H" looking for what? Hillary? Houdini? Homosexual? Surprisingly, she can't find my name.

"Can't find it," she says. God, I hope hope hope she's a volunteer.

How do I go about this judiciously? Because I don't want her to rip up my official "paper ballot" or to cunningly switch my vote to McCain (why is his face falling off?), and also because I really do want to encourage the American public to learn to alphabetize, I can't make her feel stupid or she'll just resist trying to distinguish an A from an H.

It's really in everyone's best interest to just calmly, plainly, soothingly repeat myself--make her think it was my mistake. "It's under A," I say very sweet and nice, like I did the first time. "For Archer."

"Oh, Archer" she says, "I thought it was under H." Oh honey, I know you did!

I'm then left to fill out my scantron bubble, fold my paper, and once I put it in a very unofficial looking "official" voting cardboard box, which looks like any old moving box, I leave wondering (as I'm often left wondering): what in the hell difference will it make?


chad said...

My voting machine wasn't working either and I was thinking the very same thing. I hope our votes count!

Anonymous said...

ok,,, they said that since they mailed me a " by mail voting" which I did not request, I had to do the same, fold it and put it in a plastic box seperate from the real voters....they called it ,,a "pro-visional ballet"- what the f is that? -- Stephen,, scottsdale

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience. I get there and tell the volunteer my name and then promptly hand him my driver’s license just so there is no confusion as most people go right to the “K”s when they hear my last name. I watch as he starts flipping through the “S”s as he does’t grasp the concept that on a NYS Driver’s Lic the Last name is printed first.

I say “its under C like cat” and then I explain the Last name first bit. And yes our voting machine is having some troubles.
I wonder how many votes were cast that morning before they discovered the technical difficulties? Don’t they test/reset these things before they are put into place?
I am handed a paper ballot and told to sit at the end of the table and fill it out. I am then told to hand it to the other volunteer which I do. She takes it, unfolded, and I have no idea where she puts it. There was no lock box to drop it in. I have a hard time believing that my vote will be counted…

lwando said...

Your vote counts. You can moan and groan and get pissed at the government who is in power because you voted. Even if the the one you wanted lost, you can still complain because you did something about it.

do I make sense?

samael7 said...

Okay, granted this writer was talking about Missouri. But his point is good:

Missouri has 3,371 voting precincts.

Barack Obama's final margin of victory was 10,356 votes. Divide that by 3,371 precincts, you get almost exactly 3.0 votes per precinct. If an average of 4 Barack Obama voters per precinct had decided they weren't interested enough in candidate selection to go out into a pounding thunderstorm to vote, Hillary Clinton would have been able to count Missouri as one of the states she won.

So, yes, your vote counts.