Post-Election Day Blues
I won't tell you whether that makes me happy or not, because one of the great ideas with voting in a free country is that no one has to know how you voted. Another great idea is that if you are a citizen who has registered, you are actually allowed to vote.
Let me tell you about my voting experience yesterday. Then you make the call.
There were no lines at my poling place, just as there were no lines the last time I voted.* As I walked in, a departing voter (we'll assume he voted; but maybe not) said something I didn't catch to one of the election judges (the only man, the rest were women), who responded to him in a gruff voice. One of the other judges quietly said to him, “You're being awfully strict.”
Before I could open my mouth in greeting, he pointed to a table and said. “Fill out one of those yellow cards. But before I'll let you do that, take this pen over there.” He pointed to a pen at his elbow. The other judges tittered a little. I picked up the pen and did as he asked. I brought my yellow card back over to him, along with my driver's license. He found my name in the list. I got ready to sign my name next to it.
But first, he had a problem with the address on my license. Fine; it's my old address, so I quickly produced my checkbook with my current address, just as I had the last time I voted here.
“Hmmm,” he said. “Well. The photo on the license dooooes look like you. But. I need to see your signature for comparison." (What does this have to do with my address? I wondered.)
I signed my name on a piece of paper, knowing what his reaction would be before the ink even dried.
“These signatures don't match,” he said, as if reading from a cue card.
“I promise you, it's me. Do you want to see my credit cards?”
“No. It does look like you on the driver's license. But.” He waited a full minute before delivering his verdict. I stood there turning redder and redder. Everyone in the room watched us.
“I'm going to let you vote provisionally.”
“Yeah. Here's your ballot. Fill it out, fill out this envelope, and you vote will be counted later. If there aren't any problems.”
One of the other judges led me to a table out in the wide-open, and told me to fill everything out. Then she apologized. I got out my notes with my votes and filled in the ballot. Then I filled out the envelope with my personal information. Before I finished, before I could put the private ballot into the envelope and put away my notes, two of the judges approached the table and asked if I had finished. They were polite, but I believe my voting privacy had been compromised, as one of the women looked down at my notes before I had a chance to sweep the paper back into my purse.
Is this voter harassment? You make the call.
*I have a theory for why my particular, well-to-do poling place doesn't draw in the crowds, and I wonder if it has anything to do with the way I was treated. My area is a stronghold for one of the parties, and it is only the members of the other party and independents who bother to vote. Pure speculation on my part.