Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I voted yesterday. By the end of this year, I will have participated in two primaries and one regular election - a lot from a girl living in a jurisdiction where her vote doesn't count for much. Yesterday was the DC primary; not to be confused with the Presidential primary, which was held in March. The "elections people" in DC (whoever they might be) thought it would be a good idea to schedule two primaries. That way they can spend more money, cause voters more headaches, and confuse all voters as to what is going to be on the ballot when.
As you can imagine voter turn-out was not particularly high yesterday with only local candidates and positions on the ballot. Only three of DCs eight wards had Council members up for elections and several other at-large Council seats were up for grabs.
The Council member representing the ward I live in was up for re-election. This was the main reason I went out to vote yesterday.
Voting in DC leaves much to be desired. Not only do we District residents not have a say/representative in Congress, but our one Electoral College vote doesn't really draw residents to the polls. Additionally, the District's voting process leaves much to be desired. Here are two of the unpleasantries I experienced while voting yesterday:
1. As I approached the site where I was to vote, I was pleasantly surprised that I passed into the "no campaigning beyond this point"-zone without being bombarded by various campaign staffers handing out fliers and begging for last minute votes. However, as I got closer to the voting location, a woman approached me and asked me to vote for her "friend" and gave me a packet of literature. Are you kidding me? It is illegal for you to campaign in the no-campaign zone. And this woman was camped out there - with her table, chair and desk of literature. Out of spite, I voted against this woman's friend. Respect the law, lady, and my boundaries.
2. Once inside, I went to the appropriate table to check-in. I was greeted by a woman who asked me to spell my last name. I spelled it twice and after I realized that she did not know that 'A' comes before 'E' in the alphabet, I told her my name was a few pages back in her book. After asking me to respell my name again, she finally found me. She confirmed my address, made me sign her book, and sent me to the next table. She NEVER checked my photo ID. Are you kidding me? As I was moving on to the next table, I realized she was talking on her cell phone through a blue-tooth device while she was checking me in. How rude!
My overall voting experience left little to be desired. The staff was grumpy and obviously had better things to do, like talking on their cell phones. All of this, and I didn't even have to wait in line. Just imagine what happens when you go and have to deal with the crowds.
With little incentive to vote in DC and the unpleasantries of the voting process, no wonder only 13 percent of registered Democrats and 17 percent of registered Republicans turned out to vote yesterday.
The big news, on the voting front, is that a four-term Republican Council member lost her re-election bid to an up-and-coming 33 year old. Unfortunately, as a registered Democrat, I didn't get to participate in this vote due to DC's closed primary rules.