Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Voting Troubles, entirely unrelated to electronic vote stealers (aka voting machines)

Today was 'Super Tuesday', the day much of our country had the opportunity to vote in the Primary contests that help determine which candidates will be nominated to compete in the Presidential election in November. My polling place happens to be in the old gym at Nate's school, so this morning I took him to school, and after walking with him to the entrance he uses, I then walked around to the old gym to vote.

Considering my first choice refused to run, and my second through fourth choices had already dropped out of the race, I wasn't exactly eager to vote, but I did have a definite preference, and have proudly voted at every opportunity I've had since turning 18.

When I got to the front of the line I exchanged pleasantries with my neighbor, an older lady that lives across the street from me and has (wo)manned the polling table for at least the last 9 years, as long as I've lived in my current home.

She flipped to the proper page of the voter roll book, and while my wife was listed, my name was missing. This lady does recognize me, and she did speak up to the other workers there, explaining that my name should have been there and that I've been living in the area and voting there for years. She was not antagonistic, and did speak up for me, letting the other ladies there know this was a mistake. Unfortunately, nothing she could say could change the fact that my name was no longer listed.

I asked for a provisonal ballot, and not surprisingly saw that the poll workers had no idea how to handle this situation.

Now, this was only a primary, and while I do have a strong preference in the election, I don't quite fear the other candidate, as I do the candidates of the other party. I DO believe the real contest, in November, is absolutely critical, and I want to be 100% certain my vote will count in November. SO as soon as I got to my desk after the voting debacle, I wrote a letter to the New Jersey Elections Commisioner. I cc'd a half-dozen others: the Essex County Elections Board, NJ Governor Jon Corzine, West Orange Mayor John F. McKeon, NJ's two US Senators Menendez and Lautenberg, and the NJ Star Ledger Editors.

In the letter, I included all of the gory details of what happened, and made it clear that I don't want this to repeat in November.

It was probably overkill printing out 7 copies of this message and mailing it to so many folks who probably couldn't care less, but this is important to me, and hopefully at least one of those officials will at least pay a little attention to the issue. I also was sure to add the little "cc:" bit at the bottom, letting all of the recipients know that I sent copies to the other recipients.

You can view a copy of the letter here.

(And, Hell, I just noticed that I omitted Senators Lautenberg and Menedez from the cc; line. Damn.)

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