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.