Saturday, October 25, 2008

Voter Anxiety




It was a busy morning.

I did get to sleep in ('til 9, thank you very much) getting 7.5 hours of virtually uninterrupted sleep. Ah, glorious!

Among this morning's activities, were taking cans in for recycling, mailing a Halloween package at the post office, and voting. Yes, voting.

My county started offering Early Bird voting earlier this month. I thought I would go check it out, though the mother and I had planned to go together. (That way I could alert her to ballot issues. She gets flustered reading them while voting so I always try to tell her what they are and what they say so she can decide how to vote before she goes.) So, I decided to stop by our polling place and check it out. They are open until 3 p.m. today.

I thought, from what I saw online, that they would have both online plaquard style AND traditional punch voting. Not so. For Early Bird, only plaquard is available.

I spend a lot of time on a computer. Even so, this gave me pause. I know how often I screw up that computer by hitting this key or that. So, it wa a little intimidating. And I know there is no way the mother is up for this. I decided to give it a try anyway.

First, it was busy! And, it's a lot of people jammed into a small space. That didn't make me feel any more comfortable. I had no problem checking in and soon there I was with the little toggle wheel running the show. I read the instructions. And I was very careful to stay away from the red button in the lefthand corner marked CAST BALLOT. You don't push that until all selections are made.

OK. Choices made. I carefully scrolled back through and made sure everything lined up with what I remembered selecting. All there. Good. Now. Deep breath. Press CAST BALLOT.

Nothing. CAST BALLOT continued to blink on the screen. Aw SH*T! I knew I'd screw this up. I began waving my hand and saying "Excuse me!"

An older Hispanic man came to my aid. "I pushed cast ballot but nothing happened. I was afraid to push it again for fear I'd invalidate something." He grinned and pushed CAST BALLOT. All of a sudden, a little screen on the left began printing out all my selections.

"These look familiar?" he asked. I nodded.

"Thanks," I said. "I'm just trying to be careful. It's too important an election to waste a ballot."

Now he nodded. "You're right about that. No problem though. You should be good to go now."

He directed me to hit CAST BALLOT one more time. Idid.

YOUR BALLOT HAS BEEN SUCCESSFULLY COUNTED. YOU MAY NOW LEAVE THE BOOTH.

OK. That wasn't so bad. It's now done and I don't have to worry about facing any more crowds which I'm sure will be even bigger on Election Day. So, having finished my lunch, I'm off to play with bricks. Ah, bricks, again ...

7 comments:

Dee said...

See, I'm worried about the whole early voting thing. It's kind of like cooking Thanksgiving dinner early: then what is there to look forward to on The Day? And it's not like I really have to worry about crowds in the little firemen's hall where I vote. I have seen as many as four people in there at once ... I think I'm in the same county as you, and I know early voting is an option, but I haven't yet explored it. Maybe I'm just chicken.

Jayne said...

I'm going to get an absentee ballot this week, probably Wednesday, and vote. I have to work the Monday night before Election Day and I'm afraid I'll drive home in my usual groggy condition and forget to vote. My mom got an absentee ballot last week, voted, and said she's "glad to have it over with". lol

Why S? said...

I'm with Dee - what will you do on the actual day? It's like opening your Christmas presents ahead of time. But I can also see the practical side and if this makes it easier for people to participate, it can only be good.

J.Bro said...

Early voting gives you even more free time on election day for canvassing, phone-banking and driving your friends to the polls!

NV said...

You know, I feel like a weight has been lifted. I don't feel like I'll be pressured to get up extra early so I can still make it to work ... or try to ensure I can get out of work early enough to make it in time on Election Day.

Also give me more time to just enjoy all the Election Night news coverage. :-)

Ann said...

I voted last night via mail, yay! Of course - my damn husband canceled out my MOST IMPORTANT vote, that neanderthal. He will pay.

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