Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Heard at the polls......

..... or who says there shouldn't be a voter intelligence test?

First the stipulations: 1) I didn't hear these first hand, I cannot vote in our primary because I am "unaffiliated". The events were related to me by an individual whose integrity is unassailable; 2) I swear there really were one of each party flavor; 3) the individual who heard these exchanges swears no idiot was harmed in the unfolding of these events, but it was considered (by more than one person apparently).

Scene: Local poll staffed by older retirees. Generally these folk are genial and helpful. Because we have the new electronic voting machines (which can be the subject of another stupidity post), there is a younger fellow, a technician, I presume, to help those who are new, intimidated, etc. My experience of him is that he is unfailingly nice and considerate. (I'd kill myself, he has my undying admiration.) It is a few minutes to 8:00 pm EDT the time the polls close, and they are actually counting down. Not a usual event.

Event 1: There is a line and a woman steps up to the poll attendant.

Attendant: "What is your party affiliation?"
Woman: "What?"
Attendant: "Are you registered Republican or Democrat?"
Woman: "I'm for that Obama guy. What is he?"
Attendant, nonplussed: "Uh, Democrat."
Woman: "Yeah, that's it."

After looking though the Democratic rolls, then the Republican rolls, without success, they find Madam Voter is "unaffiliated".

Attendant: "I'm sorry, but you have an "unaffiliated" registration, and cannot vote in the primary."
Woman:"What? That can't be! I thought I changed it! I'm sure I did! I want to vote for that Obama guy."

Never mind that she didn't even know what party that "OBama guy" is running under..... I'm sure she changed her registration. Probably to Martian......

Event 2.

Yet another woman, this one a Republican, steps up to the voting machine, and the attendant turns the machine on and sets it to the Republican races.

Woman: "So, I can't remember - how do I vote a "straight ticket?"
Long Suffering Attendant: "Mam, this is the primary, you can only vote in the Republican races. You vote for Republicans that you want to run in the general election."
Woman: "What if I make a mistake? You know I want my votes to be counted!"
LS Attendant: "Mam, as long as you vote for the people you want, you really can't make a mistake. Your votes will most definitely be counted."
Woman: "Well you know what happened in Florida! They left all those chads and then their votes weren't counted! I don't want to leave any chads!"
LS Attendant (who is probably wishing for a good stiff drink about now): "Mam, I assure you that if you follow the directions and push the flashing red "VOTE!" button, your vote will be counted. You need not be worried about chads."
Woman: "You'd better be right! Now, how do I vote a straight ticket?"

I wish I were kidding. I am taking a little license with the actual dialog. As I said I heard it second hand. But I attest to you that the substance is true.

Now, do I hear a vote for a test before you can actually vote?

(And that test should be in English. It was pointed out to me yesterday, that there were probably illegal immigrants voting in the primary, and I could not! Where's the justice in that?)


kemtee said...

Okay, like, I really like wanna vote for the, like, voter test. So like, how do I vote a straight ticket?

Phiala said...


Every so often I look for central PA fiber arts blogs... somehow seeing "Happy Valley" on CrazyAuntPurl's comments was a dead give-away.

Anyway, nice to "meet" you! I knit, spin, weave, dye, yadda, yadda, yadda, and am currently sitting next door to the Creamery.