Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Pollish Joke

I hesitated to vote yesterday.

I never got my absentee ballot, or I would have voted weeks ago. It may have been because I changed my box number at my mailing address, and sent the change card in too late. At any rate, my polling place was written on the card I sent I didn't even know where to go.

But one of the ads I received in the mail, you know, the ones that tell you how to vote, told me where my polling place was. So on Tuesday morning at about 10:30, I went to a high school just north of the Oakland/San Leandro border.

The high school was easy enough to find, but there was only street parking. Curious, I thought, for a polling place. I found a place to park, and walked up to Auditorium "B". I discovered that each side of the auditorium had a table full of volunteers. I picked the one to the right...

...only to be sent to the one on the left because they couldn't find my name. When I got to the one on the left, the young man put down his ringing cell phone (that was nice of him), and tried to find my name. Again, it wasn't there. So they tried to send me to the other side of the room...

When I explained that they didn't have my name either, and that I never received my absentee ballot, the guy all the way at the end of the table took charge, and offered me a provisional ballot. All right! I thought it was interesting that I filled out the outside of the envelope but nobody asked for my driver's license to compare the information.

I went over to the voting booth, which had nothing in it. I took a ball point pen and filled in the 30 or so arrows in order to indicate my choices. I realized that, in my special circumstance, I wouldn't be using an automatic polling booth, but where were they? As I was leaving, the guy In Charge pointed to the only booth with a machine in it. "I don't think anybody's going to use that today," he said sadly. I found out later that most California precincts were using paper ballots because these electronic machines can be tampered with.

I read today about some people who voted at unusual places around San Francisco and Alameda counties. One was an actual firing range. The photo in today's paper showed some guy voting on his paper ballot with posters just above his head of how to properly hold your rifle.

I think I'll stick to the high school with no parking.

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