Hipchickindc’s Voting Experience

How was your voting experience? Seems like everyone I spoke with said the polls were dead quiet.

Voting 09-09-08 005

As a kid in central Pennsylvania I came to DC for Museum field trips. In the early nineties, I commuted from Baltimore City to DC for over two years for grad school. I moved to the burbs and commuted in to downtown for work, and then finally, a few years ago, I actually came to live here.

Besides getting my Taxation without Representation license plates and my zone parking sticker, the defining moment, for me, of being an actual Washingtonian was showing up to vote as one. (I’ll save Jury Duty for another post, since I think my two years are up again soon.)

My polling place in Ward 5 is a high school down the street. Thinking I might write about the experience, I brought my camera. I came expecting to meet at least some enthusiastic supporters. I found none. The grass in front of the school had a few signs for candidates, but that was the extent of the hoopla. Given that it is not a year to pick a Mayor, and the precedence of the national campaigns, I suppose it’s not that surprising. I settled for taking pics of the red Voting signs.

Despite the light drizzle, there were some poll workers taking a break outside the front door. There seemed to be an abundance of poll workers. Although it was the middle of the day, I thought maybe some people would stop by during lunch. The last time I voted, it was in the morning, but after the start of the work day, and there was a long line of lively octogenarians. Today, there was no line.  Story continues after the jump.

The overwhelming vibe from the poll workers was that they were grateful to see me. I was repeatedly thanked for showing up. Thanked for showing up for five minutes and doing what I consider to be a privilege. I thanked them as well. I know it’s an incredibly long day for most of them.

I was offered a choice of paper ballot or electronic voting. I’ve used the electronic method before but went ahead with paper this time. There were sharpened golf pencils at the booths, so no issue of hanging chads. I turned in my ballot to a machine that sucked it in like a dollar in a vending machine and the guy at the ballot machine handed me my reward. It always makes me happy to get the little oval “I voted” sticker. I’m wearing it now.

Voting 09-09-08 004

9 Comment

  • I showed up at my polling place around 7:30 after work. Alas, the DMV never submitted my change of address paperwork that I did when I moved 4-5 months prior. I was told I could run across town to my previous polling place, but there is no way I could have made it before shut off at 8pm. Out of the 6-7 people present at the poll, 4 of them had the same problem. The poll workers had us fill out change of address paperwork, and said it should be fixed by the November elections. No sticker for me.

  • saf

    Tony, they should have let you cast a provisional ballot. They were wrong.

  • One of my defining DC moments was voting to legalize medical marijuana in 1998, only to have Congress shoot that effort down. Then the Supreme Court got to decide the election in 2000. Makes me wonder why I keep bothering.

  • Tony,
    After changing my driver’s license from VA to DC and filling out paperwork to register to vote, they had somehow lost my paperwork. I made a point to visit the DCBOE in person to fill out the paperwork, plus show them a copy of the paperwork they’d lost.

    Hope you do get the issue resolved by Nov, and check DCBOE’s site to verify the change has gone through!

    And, my polling place at the Banneker Rec Center was good – it was practically empty, but I love how poll workers are always cheery and happy to help w/ the democratic process.

  • Tony, saf is correct. You should have received a provisional ballot. My polling place was devoid of voters at about 6:00 when I dropped by, but the workers were very nice. I thanked them at least a few for beng there. As for the value of voting, get a bad, non-responsive council member, and we will all feel the pain.

  • I had a great experience voting on Georgia Ave. Very nice ladies, no wait, and they were even nice after I screwed up my paper ballot and had to do it again.

    But I don’t think that the United4ObamaBeatsMcCain ticket did too well…..

  • Agreed re: nice people at the voting stations. I vote at Coolidge and it single-handedly changes my opinion about young people in DC. Very nice kids help out with the voting there, assisting nice older people, and take me by the hand since I’m generally clueless about non-virtual activities.

    Mark this as a rare positive comment from me 🙂

  • Advice to newcomers: don’t register to vote at the DMV. Every person I’ve talked to who tried it — including me — did not show up on the voting rolls. At first I thought it was a simple clerical error or that it had slipped under a desk or something — that kind of thing does happen. But there are too many people making the same complaint for this to be a coincidence.

    There needs to be an investigation of this. Where do all of those “missing” applications end up? There’s a lot of sensitive information on them.

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