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I Voted

November 2 2004 02:44 PM ET (Permalink) (Comment)

...on Thursday.

It was kind of on a whim, actually. In the years that I've voted at my local precinct, it's always taken a long time, so I figured the advance voting thing might be worth a shot. Granted my floating work schedule, I figured early afternoon would be a good time. So, at about 2:30pm, I drove over.

When I get there, the line is out the front door, around the side of the building, and into the parking lot. I have second thoughts, but figure it's worth sticking it for a little bit to see how it moves.

Within a few minutes of my arrival, one of the poll workers comes out and tells us that the wait is about three hours from there. He admits he's guessing - that he knows it's about two hours from the sidewalk next to the building, which is about fifteen yards away. Hearing this, the guy in front of me takes off.

I realize that I'm there with only a bottle of water in my hand. But I've already waited ten minutes, and I'm not sure I want to risk jumping the line to head back to my car. (Or, more specifically, head back to the house, granted that I really don't have anything exciting in my car.)

I didn't realize it at first, granted that this is my usual voting location, but it turns out that this is one of four or five places in the county offering advance voting, so people from all over the county are here. While we're waiting, a group from the church across the street comes over and hands out cookies and water. When we finally reach the building, a woman from one of the offices comes by and hands out lollipops. A woman behinds me notes: "Do they always do this here? Maybe I should switch precincts."

After about an hour and forty-five minutes, I'm up to the front of the line. I'm handed two forms to fill out. (I hear the guy behind me moan when he realizes he needs his social security number.) At the next station, they punch my info into the computer, verify it, and I'm handed a yellow smart card.

Okay, as many of you know, the Diebold touchscreen computer has ten layers of sketchiness underneath it. On the bright side, it's really easy to use, and gives you the chance to change your mind without having to grab another ballot. Of course, I'll probably never know what Diebold declared my vote to be.

So the voting was quick and easy. Save for the waiting in line. I walked out of the building almost exactly two hours from when I got in line.

The funny part was that I found out after the fact that I got off easy. My mother voted that morning at the same precinct, and waited close to three hours. One of her co-workers waited more than three hours.

Was it worth it? Would it have been easier to wait until today to cast my vote? I don't know. If anything, I cherished the idea of knowing that my vote was already registered - it made my weekend that much more enjoyable.

I live in a Red State, so I don't know how "worth it" it was in the grand scheme of things. But it was certainly satisfying to know that I cancelled out somebody's vote.

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