Tuesday, November 6, 2012
I Voted but I Didn't Get a Sticker
I arrived at my polling place a little after 10:00, parking on the side street behind the school and entering through the playground. It was brilliant because all the paper pushers were on the street in front of the school, so I didn't have to lip off that I had certainly made up my mind by now and their papers weren't going to sway me. I didn't see a line coming out of the building, which I took as a good sign. Upon entering the gym, I found about 40 or so people waiting in front of me. Not too bad... A quick glance told me that this was not a well organized polling center. The way the line was positioned, you not only could read each vote of the person using the end electronic booth, the line blocked the box where those who used the paper ballot had to come to drop off their completed ballots. Shaking my head, I booted up my iPad and settled in to read a bit while I waited. Finally a Little Man volunteer started pushing those behind me in line out the gym door away from those trying to vote, and then he reorganized those of us closer to the beginning of the line to suit his fancy. It was then that he told me I was not allowed to use my iPad. He said there were signs posted outside that you are not allowed to use cell phones in the voting area. I told him that I did not have a phone on me. He said well there are no rules for these kind of devices, but I don't want you to use it in here. "Even to read a book?", I inquired. "I want you to turn if off." After he left, the men around me shook their heads. "Give a person a little power..", one said. (Or give a little person power, I thought to myself.) What is ironic is that Little Man later pulled out his cell phone and was using it in the gym. Really?
I decided to go with the paper ballot as they had 4 stations for doing that versus 3 for electronic voting, and the electronic line was twice as long. Once I got over to the paper ballot area, they offered the option of sitting at the table to fill the ballot out, and there were four seats at the table. I took a seat there because one opened up before a traditional stand did. I will say that there was little privacy to be had. I held my ballot up at an angle to protect my vote. I still want to know why we have regressed to filling in ovals with a pen as opposed to punching the cards. Did the hanging chad fiasco in Florida ruin that for everyone? Some people completed theirs so quickly that I was wondering how they filled their ovals in so rapidly. And what is the margin for error there?
At any rate, when I was done as luck would have it Little Man was collecting the paper ballots. He placed mine in the box, made sure the number counter recorded it, and told me I was done. He did not, however, give me a sticker. IPad bad, I guess. By the time I left, the line was out the door so I was grateful I came when I did. But I still want my sticker!