Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Democracy in Action

Ah, the American Dream, getting to vote and choose your leaders.  Wanting to avoid long lines on election day, today I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to vote early.  Not exactly confidence inspiring...

I wandered around the Lincoln Park Library for a good long time before finally finding the small room in which they had the voting machines set up.  The room was overcrowded, but luckily there was an eighty year old Hispanic lady there to point me in the right direction.

She pointed me towards the registration desk, saying "si, si," where I interrupted three more old Hispanic ladies telling a joke.  I smiled, but they somehow knew I didn't speak Spanish.  I filled out a form they tossed at me--name and address--, gave them my driver's license (which incidentally has my name and address on it...guess they wanted to make sure I wasn't up to anything), and waited for 15 minutes.  

In order to get to vote, you had to receive a keycard from the old ladies, and in order to issue you your keycard, they simply had to enter your address and name, and find you on the roll.  Unfortunately, it seemed that none of the four ladies had ever operated a computer before.  When they lucked out and got someone a keycard, the eighty year old would do her Bob Barker impersonation, and say "Step on up."  Every time.  And laugh every time.  Like it was a new joke.  Please never let me get old.  Or Mexican.  Just kidding.  We all get old.  Okay, really, just just kidding all under and I'll stop.

So apparently, my name was unfindable!  
"Aye Chihuahua.  Meeeeeester?" she said looking in my direction.
"Are you registered to vote?"
"Aye Chihuahua.  No, I can't find you in the system."
"I know that I am registered."
"Aye Chihuahua.  Well lemme find my supervisor, she can do a trick to find people."

Her supervisor arrived 5 minutes later, performed some of sort advanced trick, like, I dunno, searching by social security number, and there I was!  Hurray, I get to vote.

"Now just lemme know if you need any help with that machine.  It's tricky!"  
"Um, I think I'll be okay."
Jesus Christ!  If these ladies had a clue, I'd be worried about voter fraud.  As it is, I just worry that if an old person shows up to vote they may spend the whole day trying to operate the touch screen.

Anyway, having been deemed to be a real person by the computers and the old ladies, I began my democratic journey.  Page one contained the presidential ballot, and two ballots for congressional elections.  Great, knew who I liked in all three.  Page two: state senators...hmm, heard of one of them, sounds like a plan, state supreme court...well, don't trust people with androgynous names like Pat, so he's out, easy enough.  Page three:  water commissioner....seriously?  Gotta go green party.  City garbage supervisor?  Green party.  Roads commissioner?  Don't care, green party.  State senate again:  shoot me now! But wait, this fucking ballot went on for a grand total of fifteen pages!  I probably had the opportunity to vote for 150 positions.  I think I cared about 4, voted for about 10, randomed 20, and left the rest blank.  Because I skipped so much, it took less than 2 minutes.  But an old person who couldn't operate the machine too well?  And didn't realize that there was nothing interesting to vote for past page 2?  They're fucked!  I'm willing to bet people pass away in front of those machines.  

Also, I can't see a single good reason that you can't vote online.  If you really wanted to commit fraud on the current system, I'm willing to bet you could hack into it.  Fuck, with the room being policed only by the four Mexican ladies, I'm willing to bet I could plug my laptop into the LAN and go nuts.  If only I could hack.

So in summary...I dunno, I guess get your ass out and vote, or if you don't at least don't complain.  I realize my presidential vote couldn't matter less (thanks, Electoral College) but I think I might be the only person who voted for the 12th judge on page 14, so he definitely owes me.  Overall though, it's pretty scary.  I bet at least 10% of people vote for the wrong candidate by mistake.  Statistically that should even out to have no effect, but you know statistics...  

But what will be priceless, though, is when that retarded Luddite McCain accidentally votes for Obama.