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» Tuesday, November 02, 2004Poll Position
Got to the polls about 6:20 a.m., fortified with milk, a sliced apple, and a granola bar. There were already about 30 people in line (which was inside, so I didn't need my book light). I read the ballot they passed out, then went back to my book. Everything opened promptly at seven and I was done by 25 past. Enjoyed the new touch-screen voting machines (previously we had the punch cards that caused so much trouble last time in Florida; they were pretty simple--I cut my teeth on the old close-the-curtain-and-flip-the-switches voting booths), but I felt exposed. Cobb County has the new touch screens in the old cubicles for the punch-card voting--those lay flat on the surface; the touch screens are elevated. I felt like everyone could see who I was voting for. I miss the privacy of the old booths.
If all this Bush/Kerry animosity has done anything, at least it has brought people back to the polls. You have no right to complain if you didn't vote, but the non-voters complain anyway. "It's too much trouble, can't get the time off from work, the line is too long, there's no one I like running..." Well, heck, there's no one I like running, either. I always vote for the least objectionable candidate, not the one I like the most. But at least you're doing something. I was alway eager to vote. I remember being so disappointed when I realized the next Presidential election would come a month after my 21st birthday, and was happy when they lowered the voting age to eighteen.
I've always thought people should have election day (at least a Presidential election day) off from work (years ago election day was a holiday; you read in old books about late campaigning, parades, firelit torches out in the street as people waited outside the newspaper offices for the returns). It would give them no excuse not to vote. Perhaps, to encourage people to go, you would have to submit a receipt to your employer that said you voted and then you would be paid for the day off.
The one thing I do hope is that people can read the ballot more intelligently than they can the signs at the polling place. The school was full of warning signs about cell phone use not being not allowed; they were blue and white and black and on the wall and on posts every twenty feet or so. Yet cell phones were ringing all over the place and the lady behind me yapped on her cell the entire 40 minutes we waited for the doors to open.