04 November 2008

Voting

I voted this morning. I took the girlie into the booth with me and she helped me pull the big red lever to close the curtains. We clicked the little levers, none of this electronic stuff where we live, no sir, thank you very much, pulled the big red lever again to record the vote, and exited, blinking into the sunshine.

I was the 130th voter in my district. When we arrived at around 7:45am, there were about 10 people on line, and it didn't take long to get finished. The press corps dramatically outnumbered the voters. There were satellite trucks outside, still and video camera crews, print reporters. They were all awaiting the Clintons, but to fill out their stories and pass the time, they were interviewing people on the way out. I talked to an AP reporter, and was interviewed on camera by a local TV station. The TV station wanted to know if I'd been a Clinton supporter; the AP reporter asked if I was going to be able to accept whichever candidate won. It's a curious question - I'm not going to like it if McCain wins, but I won't have any choice about "accepting" it.

My mother voted several weeks ago, and I am relieved to report that she is alive (though not well) today. My relief stems from the fact that I helped her with her absentee ballot, and stamped and mailed it for her. At the time, it crossed my mind that she could well-nigh no longer be amongst the living come Election Day. In that case, I wondered, would her ballot still be valid? But who would know, besides me? Would it have been incumbent upon me to report her demise to the Board of Elections? It is a conundrum, a predicament which I am glad to have avoided.

Interestingly, the answer to this puzzle is dependent on the state in which you live* even though the Federal Help America Vote Act dictates "minimum election administration standards" and includes a mandate that election officials "shall perform list maintenance with respect to the computerized list on a regular basis" by coordinating with State agency records of deaths and felonies. That would seem to dictate the disenfranchisement of dead voters. Except in Florida. Ah, Florida.

Anyway. Clearly I'm not the only person who wonders about these things. Here's a cartoon that was in last week's New Yorker.



Did you vote? What are you waiting for?




*If you want to read more about dead voters, check these articles at USA Today and Slate and WCIV.

28 comments:

Kyddryn said...

I did vote. Although we live in a somewhat rural area, we have those newfangled electronic, touch screen voting thingies. No curtained booth for us, either...just a small panel around the screen so no one can peek over. We had a very short wait, perhaps fifteen minutes from entry to vote, and everyone was pleasant, well mannered, and efficient. No press for us - we're small-town Georgia and no one much cares how we vote or why.

The Evil Genius opted to vote with Daddy instead of me - until now, he's always gone with me - and he got to touch the screen and help Daddy make some choices.

We fetched home some breakfast biscuits to celebrate our family voting day, and I have forbidden all political talk in our home for the rest of the day.

Thank you for voting, Mizz Magpie, and for taking your daughter along. Thank you for encouraging others to vote, too.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

She She said...

I took Nora with me to vote today. I want her to be able to say when she grows up, "I filled in the ballot for the first African-American President."

the dragonfly said...

That is so great that you took your daughter with you to vote. I'll hopefully take my son with me next time; this year I had to vote absentee since we live in Germany, but he sat next to me on the couch while I filled out my ballot and I told him about voting and what it means. (of course, he was only 15 months old at the time, so I'm pretty sure he didn't get most of what I told him) ;)

FreshHell said...

Oohhh, purple tights! Perfect choice for voting day. Yes, I voted. We had paper - fill in the blanks - ballots. I didn't take the girls because they were still in pajamas and I had to head to work afterwards. Dusty might get to watch some of the election coverage tonight. Hopefully we'll be celebrating tomorrow.

Lewis said...

How wonderful that you all took your children with you to vote today most especially. In my polling place there were almost as many children with their parents as there were adult voters. It made me very happy and I borrowed my goddaughter to help me pull the big lever. What fun. Life can be grand!

Best,
Lewis

Her Grace said...

We're even less technical here, paper and pen. I showed my girls the ballot and how to fill it out. We talked a long time this morning about why I was voting the way I did.

Hugs to you and your mom today.

Mental P Mama said...

We don't have the curtained booth in CT any more. We filled out a form, SAT style, and it was zipped through a fax-like machine. I heard on the news that Obama's grandmother's vote still counts....Gonna be a good night. I hope.

kathy a. said...

i used to always take my kids. my daughter voted herself for the first time this year!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I always have taken my kids. My oldest called me from the polls at 7:15 this morning--she's not an early riser, but had things to do and wanted to make sure she got her vote on.

My heart was happy.

Janet said...

I got there at about 8:55 AM; there were no lines and lots of parking. I walked right in, got my ballot, walked right over to a non-curtained voting booth (hence no pictures) and voted my little heart out. As I submitted it, I looked to see what number my vote was...342 in the A-L section of my precinct. Woohoo!

Rabecca said...

We are one of two counties left in WA with the option of voting in person--and this is the last time before we go completely mail-in. I've done all absentee since...well, forever, since the days when I didn't feel safe going out to the polling place at night in my Seattle neighborhood.

Anyway, my kids (7 and 10) are INTO this election stuff! Especially the younger one. They each got to fill in some key spots on our ballot--Obama for both, and then some local races they're excited about. We'll all be eagerly awaiting results tonight. Our last governor's race took about a month to settle, and she won by only 133 votes, so we're more anxious about this than any other.

I walked by our polling place this morning (middle school) and saw so few signs of life that it surprised me. No strange cars or extra traffic at all. Signs barely visible until you walk up to the building. Meanwhile, the ballot drop box at the local shopping center has been buzzing with activity all week. I guess things are changing.

I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to see how this day will go!

Mayberry said...

Cute picture! I miss those old-school machines. It's so anticlimactic using a pen and paper like we do here.

Aunt Becky said...

I voted proudly. And happily. I was the 249th person in my precinct to vote and I was damn proud of that.

Mad said...

How odd/incongruous/discomforting to be in the position where you must think about the rights of dead voters.

Anjali said...

Yep.

I voted.

The wait begins.

Julie McCoy said...

I am tearing my hair out over this. Weird to think that 8 hours from now, the whole world will change....

Furrow said...

I miss the big red lever. I vividly remember pulling it for my parents when I was a wee girl.

jen said...

Yes we are.

Hip Mom's Guide said...

You pull a big red lever? I'm totally jealous. Voting here was like taking the SATs. But, still, I got to vote, so I'm not really complaining. Can't wait to see the returns coming in!

Ree said...

I wanted a lever. At least we got optical readers instead of the funky touch screens. ;-)

womaninawindow said...

Looking good so far...night of election...looks like I might want to wake up tomorrow afterall.

flutter said...

I did, too.

painted maypole said...

of course i voted, and woo-hoo!!!!!! we won't have to "accept" McCain. Yippee!

KC said...

Wish I had an old-fashioned lever. Instead, some ATM-esque touch screen. I was paranoid about making sure they got my vote right.
And they did.

Irish Goddess said...

I wondered out loud the same thing. I figured it was the lawyer in me coming out.

Enjoying the picture very much!

Angeline said...

hmmmm.... I guess you are happy with the results ya?

MotherPie said...

I was first in line. Outta there in 10 min.

Defiantmuse said...

My mother asked if I let Monkey pull the lever. I was like, what? A lever? What are you talking about? I got a marker to fill in a bubble on a scantron looking sheet. Yeah, that's how we roll in BFE Humboldt County. (it's also the first time I've ever voted so I didn't know any different).