David Hines (hradzka) wrote,
David Hines

Hines strikes a blow for democracy

I worked the polls today. I was an inspector, which meant that I looked at IDs (we ask for them in Florida), verified addresses, and handed folks their ballots. I wanted to do it because I'd never done it. The experience was pretty fun -- lots of good-natured joking and friendly jibes were had, an in an age when we're used to hard-core partisan stances, it was fun to hear people just goofing about the electoral process. ("Two lines for Democrats, only one for Republicans!" "Yeah, we don't need an extra line to make us feel special!") We had good turnout; sporadic during the day, then strong and steady in the evening. Most voters were forty and up; until almost five o'clock, I could count the number of voters under thirty on one hand. One of them, an eighteen-year-old voting her first big election, called me "sir."

...okay, I was wearing a tie, but GEEZ.

There were a couple of interesting surprises. A shocking number of people didn't know what party they were. Voter registration is broken down by party and name, so if somebody didn't know how they were registered we had to look in any or all of three or four different books. Several people wanted to switch party affiliation; about equal numbers wanted to leave the Democrats or Republicans; some couldn't vote in the primary they wanted to -- a couple of Democrats and independents wanted to vote for Ron Paul, whose ever-enthusiastic political cult *swamped* the front of the precinct with signs -- and, if you can believe it, many people didn't even know their own addresses. There's an explanation for that: this is a rural area, and so nobody uses street addresses around here. They get their mail at PO Boxes, and the street address they use is altered depending on the whim of whoever's running the 911 system. I met a woman whose address changed three times in the last thirty years. She hadn't moved. One guy had the worst story: he had a barn fire on his farm, and when he called 911 to report the fire using the address they'd assigned him, they were told the county had no record of it and the address was fraudulent. A fire engine came from the nearest small town, which overheard the radio chatter and knew where he was. The barn burned down anyway.
Tags: life

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