February 05, 2008

Last Chance, America. Let's Get It Right.

I voted today for the first time in 28 years.

I was so far removed from the political system that, despite my proactive registration at the library in December 2007, I fell between the cracks. Apparently, my registration never made it from the librarian's hands into the system, however that's supposed to work. When I looked online to find my polling site, there was no record of me. When I went to the nearest polling place this morning to vote, I got confirmation that I didn't exist.

The polling officials let me vote provisionally, but I had to drive down to the board of elections to tell them my story if I wanted a chance for my vote to count.

But when I got there, they told me I was indeed not in the system, but to go to a different polling place and fill out another provisional ballot, in order for my vote to count. I asked if I shouldn't go get my provisional ballot and bring it to the right place, but that's not allowed. So, I drove another 20 minutes to the new polling place.

When I got there, they explained that no, I couldn't vote there because I had filled out the ballot at the other polling place. They were sorry, but the lady at the elections office had given me the wrong instructions.

Thankfully the head official at the polling place offered to follow me over to the original polling place, where I had filled out my original provisional ballot. When I got there, I had to fill in some additional information on some additional forms to make me legal. We crossed "t"s and dotted "i"s.

I figure even though it took me 2 hours to vote, if you spread that across 28 years, it's really not so bad. I just hope it counts.

The next step in the process is somehow proving that I submitted the registration to the library in December, which I did (see post here: http://allied.blogspot.com/2008/01/i-have-not-voted-in-27-years.html, wherein I mention that I had registered a couple weeks prior to the date of my Jan 3 post. The last day to register was January 7.

I wonder if my blog can count as proof of registration prior to the deadline?

When I asked the poll workers what could have happened to my registration, two different times they mentioned that they had been having some problems with people who registered at the libraries and at the DMV. That rather sucks considering that's probably how most people who aren't registered GET registered.

Now if I were a bona fide conspiracy theorist, I might have suspected that the White County librarian noticed I was registering as a Democrat and put my registration in the bin marked Bartow County Dump instead of Board of Elections.

But you know me - I don't have a suspicous bone in my body.