Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Was Cheated on Election Day!!!

Broken promises already. Sheesh. I was told that voter turnout would result in gigantic, around buildings and blocks, veritable masses of people waiting and waiting to push a button or fill in a square, or whatever their locale's chosen tally method required of them. I was looking forward not only to sharing this history-making event with the crowds and casting my first ballot in Kentucky, but also to a lot of free knitting time. When I arrived at my designated polling place the parking lot was half-empty, and I only had to wait for one person in front of me, and if my last name had started with an earlier letter in the alphabet I wouldn't have had to wait at all.

I was cheated, I tell you!!!

But in all seriousness, I did have a moment I don't think I'll forget soon. As I was leaving, I overheard two people who had voted immediately before me discussing the various issues and races they had been presented. I was on the phone, and didn't clearly hear their discussion, but one was very clearly confused about whether her vote would be counted. I believe she was worried that because she didn't vote on one of the sections that her other votes wouldn't count. I know this to be untrue, but because my nature is to mind my own business and at least try not to eavesdrop, I didn't stop to clarify. (I also try very hard not to be a smarty-pants. Those who know me personally know that this causes my eye to twitch, but still I try.) I regret those instincts. I wish I had stopped and let this woman, who appeared near tears, know that her vote would indeed count no matter on which items she did or didn't vote.

I feel that our right to vote and have that vote counted is about as fundamental an American right as there is. It is the absolute cornerstone from which all other rights and powers rise. I'm sad that our trust that this right will be honored has been so damaged. I shouldn't have to worry that I'll be able to vote correctly, and yet I did. And it makes me angry that others would prey on this distrust and ignorance to coerce and intimidate voters to question their decisions and their right to make them and have them be heard. It's disgusting and pains me to my very core.

5 comments:

Gwen said...

I too was disappointed with my lack of knitting time and I waited 35 minutes before I got to the front. They were projecting much longer lines in DC. Plus, I even got to work at 7:30. It was crazy. I knit less than an inch on my sock. The line moved to fast, there wasn't a lot of stagnant standing around. Very disappointing...

Jennifer said...

It could be worse. In Washington polling places are being 'phased out' -- only two counties still have polling places; the rest have all-mail voting. I live in one of the counties with polling sites, but since I just registered I got a mail ballot.
One good thing about the mail ballot (at least for me) is that I did actually sit down with my ballot, voter's guide and laptop and read the text of the initiatives, look at the candidate websites, local news sites, etc. It took me about 3 hours to vote.
The bad part of the mail ballot is that ballots have to be postmarked by election day -- which means that they will not be counted for a few days (or more). There is at least one hotly contested house race that will probably will not be settled until the weekend.

Colleen said...

I felt exactly the same way! I first intended to vote in the morning, but everyone talked me out of it because of the lines, so I opted to go at lunch, knitting in hand. Same thing - half empty lot and no one in line. I opted for the electronic touch screen ballot and then saw there were a whopping 2 people in line for that. I managed to get to my polling place, vote, drop by Starbucks for my free coffee and get back to the office in just over an hour....dang it. But I'm proud to have voted, even though I'm in one of the last two undecided states...

Jane said...

I worked a precinct in Alexandria, Ky. A voter came in with a book and a snack expecting long lines. She was disappointed,yet the precinct had over 74% turn out.

danielle said...

I agree! While I did have to wait in line for an hour, I didn't get nearly as much knitting done as I'd hoped. Perhaps because it was 5:45 in the morning and not all of my motor skills were functioning.