Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I LOVE To Vote!

I DID it! I actually voted!

And just how does some pore ol' scooterless wheelchairless soul who can't walk accomplish this?

Well! Lucky YOU, I'll tell ya ALL about it! Posted by Picasa

Usually I get an absentee ballot. A few years ago, you had to request one in January for the whole year. This year, I blew it. I didn't know this rule had changed until last Friday - and while I requested one then, I figured it probably wouldn't get here in time. It didn't.

Early voting was another option. But...the leg went bad before I made it to the early voting places. You want to hear about a dedicated Early Voter? Check this out. Nancy was not feeling well and actually passed out waiting in line. But - she stayed there and voted anyway.

So. No absentee ballot, and I didn't make it to early voting; and as I couldn't walk in, or stand in line, I was outta luck.


I tried calling the Supervisor of Elections' office several times Friday and yesterday. Couldn't get through. But this morning? I guess they were WAY staffed up. I called not once but twice, and the phone was answered immediately each time.

One of my questions was this: If there's an office where you don't want to vote for either candidate, can you leave it blank? Or would that invalidate the whole ballot?

I've wondered this for like 20 years.

Answer? Sure, you can leave any of them blank. No problem.

The second question was: Is there any way I can get to vote?

I explained my situation: I can get there in a car, but can't actually leave the car without a wheelchair. It's so close to my house, only 1 1/2 blocks away, that if my scooter worked I could just ride it down. But it's broken.

They said, --Oh, no problem! We have curbside service.


--Sure. Drive up to your polling place and you'll see a security guard or a sheriff's deputy or a pollworker out there, okay? Call them over to your car, and they'll go get a machine for you and bring it to your car. You vote, and they'll take it back in.--

Suddenly a bit suspicious, she asked: --Do you have a handicapped tag or something?

--Sure. Medicare card, whatever proof you need, I really am disabled.

--Okay! (all happy and relieved again!)


Oh, this sounded JUUUUUUUSSST right.

So I hop in the car and drive on over. I see a pollworker and call out the window to her. She says, Okay, we'll be right there!

And in a couple minutes, three pollworkers come out to my car, bearing a voting machine and a mild air of ceremony.

One checks my voter registration card and driver's license. She checks my name against the registered voter list, and I sign it, and she initials it. She's done, and goes back inside the building.

Meanwhile, another one scampers back inside too, because they forgot the key thingy that turns on the machine. She hustles right back out with it. We all chat for a bit. They tell me that there's such a big turnout on this usually lower-turnout election day, there are actually lines inside. :-O !!! And me? I'm the First Handicapped Person Curbside Service customer they've had. They're happy and a little excited.

The machine is bourne into my car, tenderly cradled in the arms of a strong-looking man. A Manly Man, if you will. He wants to know what works best for me - put it in the passenger seat? in my lap?, what? Lap please. I have the seat pushed all the way back and the seatback down, so it fits just right.

Then he and the remaining lady courteously step away for my privacy.

I really appreciate that. I've had years where the Handicap Helpers did not do so. No curtain, no nothing - they stood there openly watching my votes. It makes you feel like you're sitting stark naked in front of total strangers.

I vote. I'd brought along a sample ballot all filled out so I wouldn't forget who I want. Luckily, you can review what you hit before it goes through. Good thing, too. A number of my selections didn't get counted at all; they were left blank.

During early voting, I only heard of errors that actually switched votes rather than left them blank. And so far, every single time, it switched Democrat votes to Republican. Usually the pollworkers would then remove the errant machine - but in at least one polling place, they refused to do that. So I really hope every voter in Florida checked their results before they hit the VOTE button. Because these instances were only those that a voter actually noticed, and informed pollworkers, and told to a reporter.

And if you didn't double-check at the time? It's not like there's a paper receipt to prove what was actually recorded, folks.

I fix the blanks and check everything over again. It's good. I hit the VOTE button.

And I feel SOOOOO satisfied!

Big grin. I take pix. Shoot! I wish I'd been quicker with the camera, and caught it when it said THANK YOU FOR VOTING!

Because, as I drive away - you know that feeling where you're regretting not checking your drive-through order before you leave? - I suddenly realize, I didn't get my *I VOTED!* sticker.

But hey. All things considered, that was a very tiny mishap indeed.


Desert Cat said...

I like going to the polling place to vote. There's a certain satisfaction to the procedure. But lately Daisycat's been requesting the mail-in ballots for us. I have to admit that going over the ballot at my leisure at the kitchen table is quite convenient.

k said...

Oh, yes, I'm with you on both points! The polling place is a wonderful people-watching gig. Just great. Some of the best conversations with total strangers of my life have been standing in line to vote.

And, of course, when one can't stand in line...doing the sit-down thing at home is just too dandy for words.

Granny J said...

I understand why k would prefer a mail-in ballot. But by me, there's a sense of participation in the political process that comes from all those little rituals at the polling place! Incidentally, I'll bet that in Chicago, a call to the local precinct (pronounced pre-sint) captain (either party) would have produced a ride to the polling place -- and any other help possible! In fact, I'll bet that the precinct captain would have already made sure that you got to the polls even before voting day!

k said...

granny j, I bet you didn't know this: Chicago was the very first place I voted when I was finally of age.

Cindi said...

Hooray! I am glad you got to vote!
I was planning to vote before I went to work today but I was running late and wasn't able to vote. :-( Darn it!

pepektheassassin said...


pepektheassassin said...

I voted--but get this: in the front of the ballot there's a place for straight part votes, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, etc. There's one that says Personal Choice So, thinking that means I can vote for WHOEVER I choose regardless of party, I clicked that one, and discovered hours later that I had voted straight party for some dingbat I never heard of! Apparently about 10% of the voters made the same mistake! However, there was only one guy in that party--anyway, I don't know what happened to all the rest of my choices....

Nancy said...

Texas has an early voting option. You can go just about anywhere to vote, and get the right ballot (electronic). It sure saves time in the lines, though we had to wait in a line last Thursday. I don't even want to speculate about what the lines would have been like yesterday.

YEAHHH Voters!!

LL said...

Glad you got to vote!

k said...

Oh, Cindy, i HATE it when that happens! Sometimes it does, not matter how hard you try. With me, I lose my lovely Voting Bliss, and feel frustrated on top of it all. Ick! You have my condolences.

Nancy, that link in the post above was about you - I just now clarified it too. I hope you don't mind. I was quite impressed with your Voting Sticktoitiveness. You set such a fine example, it made me extra sure to find a way to do it. And I DID! Still bouncing off the walls with happiness.

We have really great early voting here too, it sounds a lot like Texas. You can go just about anywhere you please, it's exactly the same ballot and machine, and if you go early enough, you can find a place with no lines. I early voted several times now and I love it. I think if I request my annual-style absentee ballot, so I have that to fall back on, then I can do the early voting too if I'm up to it. Next time around I'll probably have a scooter to help.

Because I'm with GrannyJ on that ritual thing. It really gives me such a charge to be with all those voters on the day.

Pepek, how very annoying that must have been! If it troubles you, perhaps a call to your Supervisor of Elections office can tell you if it wiped out your other votes? If it was a one-office, one-shot thing, I'd guess your other choices were safe, but geez. I'd want to be sure. I mean, this IS Florida... ;-)

And we had not one candidate for Green, Libertarian, or any other party except Republican - always listed first - Democrat, and a very occasional Independent. That's it.

Yup. This is Florida.

k said...

Oh! And, since I've also gotten annoyed and unsure if the choices got made right, I've taken to doing up that Sample Ballot ahead of time. Otherwise, I always find something there that I've no idea what it is. We have judge retention votes, voter initiative constitutional amendments - including the famous Pregnant Pig one - bond issues, straw polls, on and on. They send us sample ballots in the mail. I accidentally threw mine away. So I went to the SOE website, put in my address, and printed a sample ballot out. It verified my polling place too, so they can't change it and not tell us. That's happened before.

Our ballots get so cluttered that it really mattered to me to be able to surf any topic I didn't know about, check out some things about those judges, and WRITE down my choices on my *cheat sheet* before I went.

It was 5 pages long.

Cindi said...

What is the "Pregnant Pig"???

k said...

Cindi, see the new post above.