Wednesday, October 22, 2008

a quick trip to vote

Gregg and I decided to beat the rush of Election Day and go early vote during our lunch hour. I thought going in that our town would only have one voting machine, but given our town isn’t that big, I didn’t think the process would take too long. Boy was I wrong.

There were three people ahead of us in the waiting room at our village hall. No numbers were handed out, we were on the honor system. We took our seats. After nearly 10 minutes of no activity I was getting annoyed and wondered to myself if the “Person in Charge” had gone to lunch or something. Another couple walked in and took the last two remaining lobby seats. The wait continued. It was one of those awkward experiences where everyone tries not to look at each other, like in an elevator. I casually checked out each person waiting, and made up names for them. What else was I supposed to do?

There was “Madge the older lady”, she sat and read a book while waiting. She didn’t notice me checking out her footwear. I guess fall is officially here, she had on leather sandals with thick forest green wool socks. Oh to be old and not care what anyone thinks of you. Next was “Carefree Suzanne”. She also was prepared for the wait with a book (why didn’t I bring something to read?!). She was fashionably dressed and seemed like she had all the time in the world (at least until 3 when the kids get home from school). Next to me was “Retired Joe”. He looked about as annoyed as I was, probably because he too was sick (the smell of Halls mentho-lyptus hung in the air around him) and was probably mentally cussing out his wife for nagging him to go vote early, oh wait that was probably what Gregg was thinking about me. The new comers settled in for a long sit. He broke out the reader’s digest (why didn’t anyone tell me reading material was needed?) she ate the Halloween candy she couldn’t resist opening earlier that day, they could wait, they had no time constraints, they’re retired. Then out of nowhere “Carefree Suzanne” got up and left, she’ll probably be back later or tomorrow, she’s got time. Bye Suzanne, alright, one less person in front of us.

Finally an older gentleman emerged from an office. So it wasn’t a lunch break after all, but a very slow old voter. Come on gramps, didn’t you know there were people waiting. The woman in charge called the next person. I thought ok, now were moving. Nope, it took almost 10 minutes for each person to vote. What was going on here? Maybe the computerized machines were confusing the old folks?

After sitting for what seemed like a week, it was finally my turn. I go into the voting office and what’s this, no computerized machine? Nope first there’s a paperwork the “Lady in Charge” needs to fill out, then she hands you a ballot to hand fill out (flash backs of scan-tron tests of the past flash through my head). Once you complete filling in little circles on the ballot, you have to seal it in an envelope. The LIC comes back in and time stamps it, and watches you put your sealed ballot in a metal ballot box that she informs you gets hand delivered to the county voting board each evening by a police officer.

As I walk out, after my nearly 8 minutes, I said a silent apologies to the Senior Citizen set I had so rudely criticized during my wait. Paper work? Really? It is 2008 right?

Moral of this long drawn out story, don’t early vote unless you’ve got loads of time to kills and for goodness sakes if you do go, bring a book!

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