Tuesday, November 08, 2005

T'WAS THE NIGHT BEFORE VOTING

A TALE OF THE ALL-MAIL VOTE

T'was the night before the election. Mrs. Possum and I sat down to mark our ballots, having put it off for no particular reason. We opened our "Official Election Mail" and removed...

Punchcards and a paper template, formatted similarly to the cards a voting machine would sport.

What the fuck?

When do I get my voting machine?

This state of affairs is likely old hat to many. But I have never voted by mail. I've never missed a general election, although I have occasionally neglected local bond issues and I did skip the fake primary earlier this year. I have always followed a personal election ritual:

1) Drink a gallon of beer. 2) Drive to the Firehall. 3) Swear at the ballot; punch the card...

Repeat steps 3 & 4 - The spoilsports running the polling place won't let me repeat step one...

I thought this" new" wrinkle a bit ridiculous. I won't repeat the thoughts expressed by Mrs. Possum... Despite the fact she has no problem cutting out dress patterns to sew, she was infuriated by the expectation she should line up this cheesy little paper template with a punchcard and mark the card with an improvised stylus.

I feel her pain.

Oh, it's a minor hassle. I can plainly see that if, for example, I want to vote "no" on I-912 I must punch out the number "15" on my card. There is no need to attempt any tedious lining up of card and template, as the instructions suggest.

I understand why I have been sent a punchcard. I realize the cards are counted by machine, and this is the mechanical format the State uses. They can't just switch, for example, to the "black the oval with a pencil" system testors generally prefer, which was Mrs. Possum's suggestion.

We have the counting machines we have and we have to use them.

And I assume absentee balloters have been putting up with this for a long time.

But they asked for this, I didn't. And I think this is a small but very telling example of the arrogance of our State government. In your mind's ear, you can hear the deliberations of the powerful:

"This isn't a Burger King, and we don't care how you want it. You're getting what you get. Cope or don't participate!"

I'm betting for a lot of people, it will be the latter. I want my polling place back.

It's two gallons of beer for the trip to the Auditor's office to drop these ballots off. And a lot of VERY LOUD swearing...

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