Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Voting Story
(in which no actual voting takes place)

I should have just voted early in the morning, before work, like I have always done in the past. But yesterday I woke up late, and had an "issue" with my hair (a poor self-administered blow out + few rouge damp hairs + sleeping without my hair in a ponytail = 'fro city, population one). So I decided, what the hey, I will just vote on my way home.

You see, yesterday was the State Primary in Massachusetts and if you know me, you know I love me some election day. My voting skills are highly developed, and I use them often. Democracy makes me hot, what can I say?

In any case, let me give you a little background history on moi. I grew up/registered to vote in Braintree and moved to Quincy a little over 2 years ago. I never changed my registration. Adam also lived in Braintree and moved the same time I did (that is entailed when you live together) so he was in the same voting boat as me. He emailed me during the day yesterday and told me he had checked with Town Hall and was told he could still vote in Braintree since he never changed his registration and he told me I should check as well. So I called up Ye Olde Town Hall and told them my story and they checked on me and said that while I am an "inactive voter" (I will explain that in a minute), I could still vote at the same place I always voted, I would probs just have to show ID.

So I showed up at St Thomas More church after work, ID in hand, ready to exercise my right. I walked up to the cute elderly couple manning the sign in table and gave them my Braintree street address. Things became fishy quickly when they couldn't find me on the list of voters in that district. They had my brother and my father down, but no me in sight. I was confused. And they were pretty exasperated by my confusion. I got the impression they expected me just to say "Oh well" and leave. Oh Hell No. So I told them that I had spoken to someone at Town Hall and they had told me I was on the list to vote at this location. I asked them if my being an "inactive voter" might have anything to do with this? That was the magic word. They produced another, much smaller list, and lo my name was on it.

"You have to go see Dick before you can vote" the lady told me, motioning to an old man in a tan Mr. Rogers sweater at the next table, "Since you are "inactive".

I did not like her tone when she called me inactive. And let me tell you, Dick would prove to be the perfect name for this gentleman.

So i mosied on over to Dick and the first thing he says to me is, having overheard my conversation with Gladys, "You know what an inactive voter is? A lazy voter".

Say what? I smiled at him (though he GLARED at me) and explained be that as as it may what could I do to become NON inactive.?

So we then find out that I am an inactive voter because I did not respond to a town census in February of 2005. Dick asked me why I didn't respond and I told him I wasn't living in Braintree at the time. He told me "Well lady then you aren't voting today".

(Lady? Not even "young lady?". It must be the darker hair!)

I told him I was sorry but I had spoken to the Town Clerk earlier in the day and told her that I lived in Quincy now but was still registered to vote in Braintree and she had told me that as long as I had an ID with my Braintree address on it (which I do. I never changed my license), then it would be no problem at all.

Dick said, and I quote, "I don't care what she said, I am not letting you vote here today!"

Now, I ask you. Who could I ask for help? Every other volunteer there as well into their 80s from the looks of it and pretty obviously scared of Ol' Dick here. And the two police officers who were sitting nearby were busy with their snacks.


So I said to him, "Well thank you DICK, for being as rude as possible". And gasps came up from the peanut gallery, I turned on my heel and stalked out.

And I was po'd about it all night. Who is this old man* to tell me "I am not letting you vote here today". Even if he thought he was right, there are more polite ways of putting it. And let me tell you I am not taking this lying down. Town Hall is getting a VERY pleasant call from me this afternoon for either 1) telling me I could vote when I can't (although Adam voted at a different location in Braintree and had no problem even though he is also inactive and also lives Not in Braintree) or 2) for letting nasty men with no idea about voting rights man the polls.

I thought I was over it but I guess not quite yet!

(I have the utmost respect for the elderly. But come on. Someone needs to put this man in a home.)


AnnaB said...

That is absolute bullshit! You should complain. This is how Bush stole Ohio and Florida.

Sarah said...

my only consolation is that Deval Patrick won and that is who I WOULD have voted for. maybe this is the trick for the democratic party..when i don't vote the right person wins!! :-P

Anonymous said...

my friend had almost the exact same thing happen to her yesterday. she was equally as pissed. that is some serious crap i tell ya. sorry girl. <3 danielle

Samantha said...

WHAT?!?! I would've been FUMING as well. Geez. First off, isn't it your RIGHT to vote?!? Anyway, I really REALLY hope that you did call to compain to them. Even just hearing your story really made me mad. Haha.

Lys said...

You have a constitutional right to vote and DICK had no right to interfere with the process. That being said, I think a Come To Jesus meeting (as my old boss would say) with the Town Hall is in order, apologies from all parties involved in impeding your right to vote AND assurences in writing that this will not happen come November since if you change your mailing address, you might not be able to vote in the actual election.

As for the Lazy Voter - I'd tell him, "What do YOU do that gives you the right to judge?"

If not - call the papers - they'd hate to have the bad press... a Bully at the Polls is neither acceptable nor welcome. How many other people did he prohibit from voting that day.

I'm glad you put him on blast. Egads!! Some people need to be muzzled, him being one of them.

e$ said...

what a dick. fo' sho. you should write a strongly worded letter!

AmyD said...

Oooooh, I would have been PISSED! I also probably would have whipped out my cell phone, called City Hall back, and had THEM talk to DICK (by the way, I laughed out loud when I read you responded to him with, "Well thank you DICK, for being as rude as possible."). So sorry you didn't get to vote. Wonder how many other people have had this same problem? Come to think of it, I WONDER if there were just enough people this happened to that is the reason we still have that DICK as our President? Oh, the HORROR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sarah said...

update: i called town hall on my lunch break and spoke to a VERY nice lady who was shocked and appalled when I told her what happened. she knows "Dick" and said she will be looking into what happened. in any case I am all set to vote in November. and let this be a lesson to everyone: don't let a dick get in your way of voting.

Nicky said...

Maybe you had the odor of Feminism wafting off you? It is possible that DICK thought no young lady without sense enough to cover her ankles, let alone walk unaccompanied in public should be allowed to use his polls. Please create a hullabaloo about this!

Sarah said...

i know, the phone call was kind of anticlimatic. where is my town hall meeting? where are the photogs bulbs flashing? where is hank phillipi ryan to save the day?

Lys said...

Well, the good thing is you spoke up :) that's always a start!!! But, should ya wish to alert the media, just let a gal know

Sarah said...

haha thanks girl!

all I'm saying is this: if i go in November to vote and get denied again? There's gonna be some smoke in the city!

Andy said...

Hey boo- i would suggest since I feel partly responsible (remember we takled extensively about this saturday? yeah, it's fuzzy for me too...) IS get a fax from the lady at town hall. Just call her back tomrorow and say "Hi. This is Sarah we spoke yesterday I was just thinking If I could possibly get a fax with my voter registration on it. I know we spoke yesterday but I forgot to ask and i just want to be sure." I <3 Democracy!

san said...

damn... what a eff up! you better change your voter's registration to be safe! but from the behavior of this guy, no wonder his name was DICK!

Sarah said...

ha! all i remember about saturday is gimlets and dinah shore!

Mr. & Mrs. Cappella said...

I'm have a tough time deciding between 2 canidates... because the person I thought I could totally get behind is against Cape Wind and that's a big issue for me....


Mr. & Mrs. Cappella said...

I can't spell... I know.