Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election day coverage... (or how I got lost in a church trying to vote)

Hello loyal reader (ahem, The Boy),

While I've been planning for a while to talk about NaNo (we're 7 days in already!), instead I feel compelled to discuss voting. I promise to be non-partisan :)

As many of you know, recently The Boy and I bought a house and days before that I finally (officially) changed my addy to NC (in a 20 minute drive by of the DMV - a miracle, I tell you!). Weeks later, while we were drowning in boxes, my voter registration card arrived in the mail and I set it in a very special place. So special that I couldn't find it last night.

I'd planned on voting on my way to work this morning but (a) I didn't know where to go to vote and (b) I had a very very important meeting at work on Tuesday morning that is a standing meeting that is always cancelled but this Monday I'd been careful to email the PIC (partner in charge) to find out if the meeting was on for a change and he assured me it would be (and the sweetie he is, he reminded me that polls open at 6:30 so I shouldn't have any trouble making it to work on time but he'd understand if I was a few minutes late...). Sigh...

So I postponed voting till later in the day. Natch, the meeting was cancelled (while I was walking in to work).

On the way home from work and on my way to the polling place I bought a large bottle of wine to keep me and The Boy company while we watch voting results.

Anyways, so it's been raining here all day. And that means that when I left work it was PITCH BLACK DARK. I was supposed to be voting at the Avondale Presbyterian Church. It's 2 blocks from my home but still was hard to find in the dark. I pulled into the parking lot and ran through the drizzle following the signs to go vote. I end up in a very large courtyard with no signs.

I see red balloons and I think, "this must be the place!" I go towards it but then see orage baloons closer. So I go over there but they're only orange paper lanterns. D'oh! So I go back to the red balloons. Oops, they're paper lanterns too. I see a woman walk out of a door near the lanterns. I ask, "do you know where voting is?" She looks at me. She says, "this is a church." I said, "I know, the voting is here." She says, "are you sure?" I say, "yes, Avondale church, voting." She says, "I don't know."

I traipse through the rain to another woman. Ask about voting, she points up a dimly lit path and I follow it through the doors into a multi-purpose room. I tell the people in charge that it's hard to find where to vote and they scurry to make it right (although when I leave it is still dark and there are no signs). I sign in (whew, the don't ask for ID cause then I'd have to put the beat down) and then I stand under a portrait of some reverand while I wait to vote in one of three electronic voting machines.

The good news is that our voting machines were very very easy to use (if you can use an ATM you could use these) and also they kept paper trails (thank goodness!). I wait about 15 min, spend a few minutes voting and then am out of there with my "I Voted!" sticker. But still, I felt like I was in an alternate universe when I was wandering around a church-yard trying to vote.

But it makes me wonder, why is it so difficult to vote? Any why was I voting in a church? For being the cornerstone to democracy, I can think of so much more than can be done to make it easier. For example, before I left to vote I looked online for my ballot so I could look up some candidates. I couldn't find it. And in my state we're voting for judges (which I don't agree with) and I'm an attorney so I feel compelled to make really good decision on judges but I didn't know some of the races so I couldn't make informed decisions and so I couldn't vote...sigh...

Now to drink my wine (ok, I admit, I've been drinking it already :)

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