Hey! Everybody! I voted today! Wooo!

For the first time ever! I have to say, as depressing as this election has been, I couldn’t help grinning as I was leaving the court house.

So here’s what the process was like for me: after I figured out where I was really supposed to vote, I drove downtown and parked. Then I had to cross the street to the court house. At the street corner, there were a bunch of people with signs, plus a man who was running for mayor. We chatted and since he was a Democrat, I promised to vote for him (and all the other Democrats being endorsed by this corner). Eventually, the “walk” symbol blinked on, and off I skipped to vote, vote, vote!

Except that there was no door in the courthouse. Seriously– I walked right up to the big, lovely facade facing the street, and walked back and forth along the whole front of the building, and it was nothing but windows. Eventually I found a little door, but it said something to the effect of “This Is Not A Door.” As I looked at it, perplexed, a similarly confused couple came along; together we ventured to the back of the building, where we found the proper entrance. I could tell it was the right place because of the metal detector.

Upstairs, there really wasn’t any kind of line. In about 30 seconds, I got waved over to a poll-working-person, who asked for my ID. I was surprised, since I hadn’t realized that ID was required (since so many people don’t have any, it amounts to a poll tax) but, as a Lucky McPrivilege-Pants, I had no problem and handed over the driver’s license.

Then I was asked, “Touchscreen or paper ballot?” I asked for the paper, which is to say, our conversation looked a bit like this:

“Do you want to use the touchscreen, or a paper b–”

“PAPER BALLOT! Please.”

It’s probably paranoid, but I just really, really wanted to have a physical record of my vote. The environmentalist in me realizes that it would be better to switch to all-electronic, but the rest of me just can’t accept that. Switch junk mail and bills to email; leave our votes on good, solid paper. The consequences are just so much more dire for voting, it’s important to me that there’s a physical record, and that if something seems funny we can look again at the actual votes cast. With electronic votes, we just have to trust the computers– which isn’t something I’m willing to do with my vote right now.

Anyway, paper ballot: it was bubbling things in, just like high school all over again! I felt silly, like a kid, until I got to the section labeled “FEDERAL” and was presented with Barack Obama’s name. There were a half-dozen other names I didn’t recognize, which was cool, and Cynthia McKinney was there, of course, which was tempting, but ultimately, despite the many ways he continues to disappoint me, and despite how much I would have preferred to vote for someone else– it was a warm, fuzzy feeling filling in that little bubble.

I also voted on a number of local items– for the eradication of outdated language in the constitution; against a measure that would make adoption available only to people in valid marriages; and so on. There were maybe half a dozen. Plus of course the senators and county clerks and so on; straight Dem, basically, except for one position that had only Democrat and Green running– I got in my Green vote there.

When I left, I was feeling so pleased, somehow, so proud. I wasn’t expecting that. I’m pretty cynical about politics; I’m not really convinced my voice will make a difference. But man, it felt good to vote.

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6 Responses to Hey! Everybody! I voted today! Wooo!

  1. Terra says:

    PRAISES TO YOU!!! Don’t care who you voted for, glad you did… It will be my first time too!!!

  2. Crowfoot says:

    Congratulations on exercising your franchise! 😀 I’m with you – I get excited to vote, every single time. I know how hard and for how long people had to fight to be able to vote (and not just technically, but in practice – thinking of all the road blocks put in the way of people of colour). We all have to vote; we can never know ahead of time when it will really matter. Besides, it’s rather like the green movement in that one recycled pop can might not make much of a difference, but if we all do it? Canada’s turn out was the lowest in… ever. I think. Less than 60%. What if just another 10% had voted? There were so many ridings that were won/lost with a margin of under a hundred votes. 22 votes, in one.

    And I agree on the paper ballot. Computers are the easiest things to cheat with. It’s a lot harder to fake 10s of thousands of paper ballots. Keep it simple, keep it clean, keep a physical record.

  3. dollyann says:

    WOOHOOOOO! Go eloriane. And let me just politely disagree with Terra here; I would have F*n hunted you down had you voted McCain (though I probably would have gotten to you *after* your mother ran you over with her car, as discussed earlier). Voting makes me feel kind of powerful, I think. Like, you have a choice in your destiny. What pisses you off, I guess, is when the peepz around you help pick that same destiny or screw you over.

  4. eloriane says:

    Yeah, it was cool!

    And I feel like, I don’t want people to vote McCain…but I want everyone to vote for who they want. So I guess I don’t really want to run Republicans over with cars– I want to convince them to vote Obama.

    Like me! Whoooo!

  5. dollyann says:

    Hey, you know what else–good for you for voting on paper ballot. I totally think that regardless of technology we should keep voting to print. Like you said, hard documentation of your vote. But if there’s a technical glitch or something the whoele frigg’n election’s ruined. I voted absentee so my ballot was paper too.

  6. Samantha says:

    I know this is a late response (and it will be a lengthy one), but I must say, my first time voting was not this time (even though I wish it was, what an election for your first election to be!).

    I turned 18 on November 2nd, 2004 (which was election day 2004) and I was pretty much aware and involved on the Howard Dean campaign since age 16, so I was pretty upset about Dean losing. Though I touched the screen for Kerry and all the other Dems on the ticket.

    Sadly enough, the next 4 years what be some of the worst in America’s history, so when Hillary Clinton was presumed to be the nominee for the Dems, I got heavily involved with her campaign, and got easily annoyed with this Obama (the personal is always political) and it took me awhile to get over Obama being the nominee.

    But then I read book of his books, learned about his policies more, and came to understand why the Democrats chose this man as their nominee. I spent a week in Denver at the DNC feeling all the emotions and excitement of the people, it is something I will never forget.

    So when I returned to NC, I signed up as an Obama intern for my campus and the next few months changed my life. I know that sounds really cliche, but the people I met on the campaign I will never forget and the experiences I had changed me for forever.

    Anyway, we had a march from school to the courthouse to show our support for Obama and then we went to vote. It was such an amazing feeling voting that time around, and this time I wasn’t for someone who was the lesser of 2 evils, but someone I had come to admire and respect, it was such a great feeling, (o and Elizabeth Dole going back to Kansas felt great as well).

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