Tuesday, November 07, 2006
So did you do it? Vote that is. I did and got my "I Voted" sticker and everything. Note the fingerprint on the sticker; I guess that's the new symbol for touch screen voting. The new electronic voting machines seemed pretty straight forward to use, our precinct seemed to have plenty of them, and I don't think it took me any longer to vote then it did in previous elections. But of course that was before 7:30 AM, maybe the lines and wait times will be horrendous later in the day. Now the vote counting issue...I guess we'll see how that goes this evening.
Our only voting hiccup was knowing where to vote. During the "big" presidential elections my precinct votes at "The Sons of Utah Pioneers" building which is conveniently located two streets over from mine. For the "lesser" elections the vote takes place at the neighborhood elementary school. Usually we go the "Pioneers" as we call it, realize it's the wrong place then head over to the school. I had thought that with a both a senatorial and congressional race we might get to vote at the Pioneers this year but I wasn't sure. My husband, who always goes to vote right at 7:00am, called home and asked me where to vote. The school district closed our neighborhood elementary this year, so where DO we vote? Oops, we'd never thought about that. So he came home, looked it up on the internet and found that we now vote down at the synagogue a mile and a half away. Problem solved, voting accomplished. I can proudly wear my sticker.
This really got me thinking about the electoral process. How do they decide where people vote? Who are those people who are running the election process? I'm under the impression the polling places are staffed by volunteers. ( Is this true?) I wonder where they find them. Where I vote the scribe who writes all the names in the book is always an elderly woman with beautiful handwriting. Maybe they look for people old enough to have had a penmanship course for this job! I imagine that it is a big job to organize all the voting equipment, people, places and paperwork. I think our county clerk oversees the effort, I guess her job is way bigger than I could imagine.
Since voting is a governmental thing. I would *think* that voting would take place in a public building, like a school. Clearly this doesn't always happen, today I voted at a church, sometimes I vote at a building owned by a private organization, heck, back when I was a kid in Ohio my parents voted in the basement at a neighbors home. My 20 some year old voter registration card says to vote at the Sons of Utah Pioneers building, but in reality we vote in other locations more often. It also says to check the newspaper or call a phone number (Does this 20 year old number still work?) for updated information. Checking the newspaper requires knowing your precinct number. Who remembers that? How many people (besides me!) actually keep their voter registration card handy? Of course now we have the internet, which makes it easy. Enter your address and it tells you where to vote. But what about those (rare, not so rare?) folks with out internet access or computer savvy?
My boss went to vote this morning, gave them his name, and found he wasn't on the list. It turns out he had been "redistricted" (or as he said, gerrymandered in to a new district!) and he hadn't know about it. So he has to vote someplace else, someplace he didn't have time to go this morning, so he will have to vote later. Several (most) other people I work with hadn't voted yet and didn't know where they were supposed to vote. These are intelligent folk ( I work at a university), so I know they will figure it out and go do their civic duty. But it makes me I wonder how often people are confused about how to actually go vote.
I wonder how often people don't bother to vote, just because they are confused or it's too much trouble to figure out the system?