Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Doing My Patriotic Doody

So Tuesday (11/2/10) was our big voting day. There were important issues on the ballots, like implementing an income tax (in addition to our highest-sales-tax-in-the-US already) and allowing non-state-run stores (like grocery and gas stations) to sell hard liquor. Plus apparently a slew of slimy candidates, slaughtering trees by the thousands to send me junk mail that didn't even make it past the recycle bin in my driveway after leaving the mail box. Oh yes, and don't forget the incessant automated-voice calls during nap time. I was ready to tell all the candidates to take a flying leap.

Growing up, my sister (Kayneen - the rest were too young at the time) and I loved politics, because my dad would have strangers over and had cookies and soda and chips for them- all things we only ever saw at other kids' birthday parties. Apparently he hosted caucuses (which would have had me snickering juvenilely all night over the humorous homonym, had I known all the synonyms for male genitalia.) Our parents would let us stay up late and snack, as long as we were quiet and polite. Oh, you've never seen such politeness and quietude! But inevitably we'd listen and hear stuff, occasionally piping in with a thought-out topical question (after raising our hand first, to be sure we wouldn't lose noshing privileges!) And we'd ask more questions after they left (to delay going to bed, and cram in a few more treats.)
About 5.2 seconds after turning 18, my dad took me in to register to vote. And every election day, he'd pick me up after work and drag me kicking and screaming drive me to the polls, and give me rundowns on the current issues and candidates; as well as his opinions and leanings, but only if I asked for them. He did this until I moved to our current house in 2001, and I registered with my new address at the library. What? ABSENTEE BALLOTS?! Hellyeah SIGN ME UP!
I was disturbed and confused by the concept of an Electoral College (it doesn't matter how many times you recount the votes, or whether ballots were influenced - our vote is only a suggestion. The Electoral College guys get to do the actual deciding.) and I learned about it right around the time that we had a vote on whether or not to build a new stadium. We, the taxpayers, voted no. Then there was another vote. Still no. They did it anyway. And then a vote to refurbish the old stadium. We voted no. They did it anyway again! And we still voted those yahoos back into office! And our reward? They upped our state sales tax to almost 10%! Since it was clear that my vote doesn't count, I lost most of my ambivalence, and became more couldn't-be-bothered.

So I ignored my absentee ballots for a few years, then got a letter in the mail forwarded to me (in my name!) from the wrong address saying that unless I sent the card back a week prior, they would stop sending me ballots. Uh. Okay. More years went by. More voting opportunities ignored. Until 2008.
My husband dragged me and our newborn to our local poling place (even though he had an absentee ballot sitting on the railing at home) and figured out which district we were in (by going to each district's table and having them look him up until they found him.) But they didn't find me. Huh. So I did a 'provisional ballot' which is apparently code for 'will throw it in the trash' based on my experiences this voting period! But back then I was all excited to be part of making history! (I voted for Obama.We still have our ballot stubs... Mostly because we're slobs, more than sentimental reasons...)
They wouldn't let us take the mewling infant into the polling booth with us (blatant little seditionist! She'd try and sway our votes!) so we took turns dragging around her bucket car seat while the other voted. Hooray! Job well done! Or so I thought...

More ballots ignored. At some point recently, I received an email about how much abuse and suffering the suffragettes went through to earn my right to vote as a woman, and it was really very ghastly and moving. So I was already leaning towards maaaaaybe being guilted into thinking about voting again. But then a few months ago, my harpy sister nagged at me to vote in the primaries, and when I told her my tale of woe, printed out forms to send in to register, update my address (even though I already had) and my name (when I had moved and registered, I wasn't yet married.) Bleah. Fine. She even put a stamp on it and marched it out to the mailbox, since, by my apathetic response, I clearly couldn't be trusted.
So after a deluge of slick tagboard mailers and annoying phone calls with no one to yell at or threaten; countless Facebook posts, links and arguments on political issues, candidates, calls to get off my duff and vote, and general ambivalence on my part, I get a call during lunch after gym class on Tuesday. From my sister. Reminding me to vote. I told her I hadn't received an absentee ballot, even though we had done the forms months ago, and our state is now mandatory mail-in voting. So she called my mom and had her use the intarweb to find the local polling places. A 30 minute drive, a 25 minute drive, or a 30-minute drive. Ughhhhh.

I'm part of what I call the "Tee hee hee Party" - you know, like when the police officer asks me "Can you describe the car that hit you? What model?" My answer would be "White. Tee hee hee." I tend to vote the same way. Democratic females whenever possible, then Democratic males and/or names I like or saw more posters for. Seriously. Women died for my right to vote randomly and ambivalently and I fully intend to exercise that right, when I feel like it. Or whatever.

[Warning: Events exaggerated for comedic effect. Plus some cussing. That part was real.]

So I took my child who refused to eat her lunch and didn't want to go home for a nap, and was now an hour into nap time, on a drive, figuring she could finish her nap in the parking lot at the polling place, and I could wake her early, so we wouldn't be up too late with her later. No dice. Not only did she not sleep, Every. Tiny. Little. Thing. Was. A. National. Emergency. I was ready to pitch her out the window and head to Mexico.
I snaked slowly through an overcrowded parking lot on a 1-way lane with traffic going TWO WAYS, until I finally found a parking spot. I dragged Her Royal Highness and one toy "NO, ONLY ONE! PICK ONE ALREADY!" into apparently the wrong side of the building, up 1,000 flights of stairs, to find a line with  the approximate population of a small country. Ugh. 
The sign said:
"Voter Registration, Handicap accessible voting [arrow pointing right]
[arrow pointing left] Electronic polling"
Guess which way the line went? [If you guessed "arrow pointing right" you would be correct.]
So after hours of snarling and crying and whining, plus her delightful behavior, I find out that not only can I not take her into the polling booth with me ("Oh, sure, can I leave her with this skeevy stranger behind me? Thanks.") but THIS WASN'T EVEN THE LINE FOR VOTER REGISTRATION!!!
So I get in the correct line,which actually has no line, and after looking me up by name, maiden name and birth date, she tells me that my voter's registration was cancelled, and the due-date to have signed up was Monday. Whuuuuuuuuck? And they still had my maiden name, which means they completely ignored the forms we sent.
Double whuck?! I even waited for a supervisor or something, who said I could do a provisional ballot, but I'd have to GET BACK IN LINE. 
I filled out another voter registration form, but I have no faith that they'll actually be bothered, considering the last forms I filled out apparently got filed in their "most important" file (the garbage) and the last "provisional ballot" I did was not only ignored, but I didn't even get a follow-up, telling me that my vote didn't count, maybe I should re-register. (I had to list all my info on that ballot, so they totally knew how to get ahold of me!)

There was nothing on the ballot important enough to me to wait in line for THE FIRST TIME, and it was SUCH A TREAT with Bitchy McBitcherson in tow. And they wouldn't even let me bring her into the booth with me. So they can all suck donkey balls. I hope whoever I would have voted for loses by 1 vote. I am so pissed off that I went to all this trouble for something I didn't even care much about in the first place. Argghhhhh! I want to punch someone in the face.
I could have just registered at the library. At least then I'd have been able to return my overdue books and get some new ones. Maybe a book on ninja fighting moves, or throat-punches...


  1. I vote because people worked to make it happen, but it makes me feel stupid and underinformed.

  2. I also used to love politics and found voting to be a very moving experience. But like many of us do as we get older, we learn the truth: that much of it is a game. And yeah, the phone calls and mailings during election season are truly annoying. I still voted, and I think it is important, but somehow my heart wasn't as excited this time.

  3. wow, that sounds horrible! apparently, in ND they are much more relaxed. i walked up the road with my baby in a stroller to our polling place at an elementary school. we had moved in May, and never registered, but they had me on their list anyways. our "booths" are more like tiny plastic desks to stand at, without a curtain, so I just wheeled my baby with me. The nice old people manning the polling place even joked about how he helped me vote and gave him an "I Voted" sticker. that being said, I only voted so I would have the right to bitch and complain about the politicians.

  4. Voting makes me feel like I'm in Middle School again. "Pssst. What did you put for number 6?" I just copy my husband, sister or dad's views mostly, or else I disagree with their view on something and vote the other way. Either way, they do all the legwork, and I steal their cribnotes.

    I do have opinions and political views and such... just mostly can't be bothered to think them up!


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