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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The American Voting Experience At It's Best

I had the most comical voting experience this morning. We get to the polling place, a Catholic church rectory, at 7am, kids in tow, and are waiting in line, which is wrapped out the door. OK, I expected there to be a line at opening with the "before work" crowd.

So we finally get inside and find out why the line has been moving so slowly. They have a table set up to the left where they have the books. So we're just standing in line and every so often they come to get more "M-Zs". Only a few people can fit in the M-Z line, so the rest have to stay in the A-L line until there is room. So, in addition to the 2 books, they have these 2 old ladies writing down every name in separate books. I don't know if this is normal, but it seemed like overkill to me.

Then they handed me a white plastic card to take with me to yet a third line, where we were to wait to go to one of the 5 voting stations, which were not covered at all. I know I've never voted before, but shouldn't there be some privacy? Anyway, so we were waiting in the third line, but then this lady starts "making another snake". She kept yelling at people because they were getting in the wrong snake. How on earth was anyone to know which "snake" to get into? What the heck was this lady talking about?

So then it's finally my turn. I hand another worker my white plastic card, but I have to wait for another worker to take me to a voting station. It was painfully obvious that this old woman's first and only computerized experience was this polling system. She tried to explain it to me, but in the end, I had to figure it out myself.

To top this comedy off, they had everyone leaving out of the same small doorway we came in, which was where there was still an incoming line! There was another door on the other side of the room that would have been simply perfect as an exit, but they said that was where the priests' offices were and we weren't allowed in that area of the rectory. For 1 day every 4 years, they couldn't accommodate? Ridiculous!

Now, I've never voted before, so maybe this is the norm. But judging from the reactions of the other voters, I'd say probably not.

It only comes once every 4 years. This particular polling place is always the polling place for our area. They've had plenty of practice and time to prepare. And this is what they came up with?


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