voting narrative

<a title=”Earth Wide Moth: ” href=””>Derek posted a quick narrative of his first voting experience here in NY.

B and I walked into town hall to vote (#120 and #121). There was a small line, and we waited, studying the hard-to-read model of the ballot. I was thinking: why could you vote for Kerry/Edwards as Democrats, or as “WF” (Working Families?)? How confusing can they MAKE this?

Then, as we made our way to the desk thingies to sign our names, we realized there were TWO DISTRICTS. I did not anticipate this; there was no indication of such a thing on either of our little postcard acknowledgements.

The constable who stood sentry was of little help:

Brian: How do we know which district we’re in?

Constable: It depends on which side of the street you live on.

Brian: What street?

Constable: [gesturing indiscriminately] This one.

Brian: Route 69?

Constable: [jabbing finger in same non-direction] This one.

Brian: [with saintly patience] So if we live south of 69, which district are we?

Constable: South?

Brian: [clears throat]

Lady We Know from Elementary School Who Was Working Poll: Hi guys. You’re in District 2.

So, that’s good to know. Then after we signed our names, I began studying the actual polling machine. (There was a little replica for people to “practice” on outside the booths.) Ours was exactly what Derek describes: big red lever closes the curtains, you tick smaller levers to indicate your choices, and you swing the big lever back to its original position to BOTH open the curtain and reset the machine/cast your votes.

I had a moment of anxiety before I swung the red lever back that something would stick and I would be standing in the booth with the curtains open and my votes still in place.

I don’t have a detailed memory of what it was like 4 years ago in VA when I voted last, but I do remember getting a sticker (I VOTED!) and that I wasn’t at any point confused.

I can understand how people could feel afraid of being judged. The constable obviously thought we had crawled out of some hole in the ground since we 1) did not know which district we were in and 2) did not understand his special constable sign-language.

I’d be interested in hearing or reading other election day narratives.