Election 2012 – Or How I Became A Voting Troublemaker

                The Secretary of the Commonwealth thinks I’m a pain in the ass. Ok, so he doesn’t know me, but he knows my kind, and I must say he wasn’t entirely happy with us today. So what happened that would create such chaos and mayhem (which I usually spread wherever I go)? When I got to the elementary school to cast my vote at 7:00 this morning, I found out I was on “inactive” status. Inactive? What the hell? Not only have my husband and I lived in Sunderland since August, 2000 (the first thing we did when we arrived was register to vote), but we are the longest active renters in our apartment complex. The funny thing is that when I got in line, one of my friends from the town’s congregational church (which I have attended since 2004) was handing out ballots when the other volunteer said “no, she can’t have one yet.” She then handed me a sticky note that said “inactive voter” and pointed me in the direction of a separate table. I handed a man the note and he asked me if I hadn’t returned my annual census, and for the life of me I thought I had. I don’t know if it’s a byproduct of living in a small town, but every year we have to reaffirm we live in Sunderland. So, because of my not checking off a box on a postage pre-paid notecard, my name was highlighted in green on the voter’s list. I had to show an i.d. and sign an affidavit stating that I’m a resident of Sunderland. The volunteer walked me back over to my friend to sign the check-in book to prove I was ok to vote. It took a few minutes to figure out how to vote on assisted suicide and medical marijuana and then the volunteer had to sign the check-out book before I could put my ballot in the counting machine. As much of a pain as it was, it didn’t take me very long, and further reinforces my belief in voter i.d. laws. I believe everyone should have to show an i.d. to vote and I was glad they asked me today. After all, how did they know I was legal to vote? On the way to work I heard the Secretary explaining that the biggest voting delays would happen due to “inactive voters” because the process was complicated; he advocated voting precincts having separate areas for those who had to sign the paperwork.  He was overstating it a bit but he’s a politician. They always make mountains out of molehills. I have never not voted, and I would have been devastated if I hadn’t been allowed to do so. I was lucky that I turned 18 in 1992 and was able to vote that year – I was so proud and wore my right to vote like a badge of honor. Afterward,  I stood on the corner and waved Bush/Quayle signs like a banshee. It was so much fun and is a memory I’ll always cherish. Even when my grandmother was on her deathbed in 2000, I managed to vote before I headed home. I will always vote, even if I have to be wheeled in to the polling place on a stretcher. I vote because American women have only had the right to vote for 92 years.  I vote for the women who still can’t. I vote for my seven-year old niece and my eight-year old nephew, so they will have a better future.  I vote so I have the right to complain. I vote because I am an American – to not do so would be unpatriotic.

3 thoughts on “Election 2012 – Or How I Became A Voting Troublemaker

    • I was at a complete loss to explain it, but I guess I didn’t just fill out my town census. I don’t know if this is a small town New England thing or what, but I didn’t really mind the experience too terribly much. At least I got to vote. I did hear the news report that legally in MA they have to leave inactive voters on the roles. It was, however, the first and last time I’ll ever be considered a “greenie” (meaning my name was highlighted in green to indicate my status;)

  1. Gosh, voting in a small town should be the simplest of all. Everyone who legally lives, works, and contributes taxes (even if only sales tax) in America should be able to vote. There needs to be equanimity in the voting process, at least for the federal elections, in order to make voting possible for everyone. In my opinion, to hamper or thwart voting, rather than making it simple and convenient for all, is unAmerican…I had trouble voting one year due to having moved, even though it was only a distance of 14 miles. If they have a criminal data base, why don’t they have one for voters? Whatever! I’m just glad it’s all over for a while.

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