Literally and figuratively. I just returned, about an hour ago, from my polling place. You see, I run to my local polling location. Up until two years ago, this was a relatively flat prospect. Then, the local fire department started a building project on the station on Route 26. The polling location moved to Union Center Christian Church and has not moved back, even though the construction is finished. The distance is not all that much – 3.16 miles round trip according to mapmyrun.com.
Was it painless? Yes, the casting of my votes was painless. Was it without question? No, if you read on, you will realize that my experience has actually brought a lot of questions to my mind.
My first question was concerning the woman who entered UCCC in front of me. She had on an Exit Real Estate shirt. I believe I know which realtor it was but am not 100% positive. As a matter of privacy, I walked slowly as she was not yet signing her name in the book. Realize that my last name starts with a C and that would put me in the beginning of the alphabet and the realtor was monopolizing the woman with that book. I took a step closer and heard the realtor say – “OH good. He voted and so did he.” The election worker was showing her that someone had or had not voted. I don’t believe this is legal – family members or not – and I believe this person’s last name starts with a letter at the end of the alphabet, or in the other book.
Shock number one and I wasn’t even to the table to sign the book yet.
Once the realtor had left, I gave the election worker my last name and pointed out – as most refuse to believe that my first name is actually Nicki – my entry in the book. No ID required though I had my license with me as I was not making the run up Boswell Hill Road more than once (see my primary experience).
I did have to wait about ten minutes to get into the voting booth. I have never had to do anything more than walk in and sign the book and walk into the booth. There is only one voting booth were I vote. From the discussion the poll workers were having while I waited, I guess there are between 500 and 600 people registered to vote at this location. You may say, how do I figure? There are either five or six names on each page. The one woman said she had 43 pages and the other responded she had 53 pages. That puts me at between 480 and 576 voters in this particular election. I was voter 147 at a little before 11 am. My son, who left the house at 7:02 am, was voter 42.
Another little tidbit from the poll workers’ discussions came when one of them discovered pages in the back of each book for changes of addresses. Both of them said they had no idea what these were for or what to do with these entries. Could they take a change of address? Could they find all the information that was necessary for each form? What are these for? More importantly, why don’t those working at the polls know the answer to this question.
Now came the most interesting part of voting. A woman in a wheelchair came in. The church is very handicap accessible. The tables that the “books” are on are a good height so she had no trouble signing the book. I am not sure that her voting experience was the same. The new electronic voting machine was just off to the side of the lever voting booth. What do I hear but the poll worker – who is digging for a key and an instruction sheet – say that the machine is set for audio voting. This machine is not in a separate room. It is not even away from where every one else is voting. If there is going to be audio voting, would a separate room not be required to keep with voting in secret?
How was your polling experience?
One thought on “Exercising My Voting Privilege”
I am distressed at the level of knowledge of your election judges. I am sure your precinct is not alone, and the thought of irregularities in an election that promises to be so close is just plain scary.
I am in a small precinct as well. 1200 registered voters, or thereabouts. I went at poll opening at 6am. Dummy.
A large majority of the people here commute to the city, so the parking lot at the fire hall was full, as was the convenience store next to it.
I went back at 9. There were maybe 3 or 4 being signed in ahead of me. 2 tables A-L and M-Z. 2 judges at each. Both verify your id against the printed registry, and you are given a card to hand to the judges manning the machines.
We have 3. They are electronic. There was no wait.
I am not sure about audible machines, but I agree that they should be in a separate room.
I am disturbed by the public discussion of who votes or not. However, I figure it is not illegal, but certainly unethical. Was it you who wrote about the nonvoters published in a Nashville newspaper?!
It is our vote that is guaranteed secrecy, not whether we exercised our right. As sad as that is. I dunno. Maybe shaming people into it is not such a bad idea. One of those privacy is not a constitutional right issues that just irks me.
Sorry to sound so disjointed.
I thought it was funny that Sheriff Andy (I mean Sheriff Roper) was present at the poll to prevent disruptions. in Mayberryville. BWAHAHAHAHHAHAHA