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Posts Tagged ‘disenfranchising voters’

I didn’t know how desperately I valued my right to vote until someone told me I couldn’t have a ballot.

I didn’t realize how much work there is to be done to educate voters on their rights until I witnessed multiple people turn away with a shrug after being told that they weren’t on the voter registration list — even though they were quite certain that they were — and, therefore, couldn’t vote.

I had forgotten the warm, heady feeling of furious indignation until it surged forth when I realized just how ridiculously broken the voting process was in Fulton County, Georgia.

When the secretary of state says you’re registered to vote, it seems pretty official. It wasn’t official enough for Fulton County officials, however, and they turned away A LOT of voters on election day. The county official at my polling place acted like I was a fool for thinking that seeing my name on the secretary of state’s voter registration list meant that I was really registered to vote. In what I’m now convinced was an attempt to just get me to leave, she actually sent me out to the library computers to look my name up on the “official” Fulton County voter roll so I could see for myself that I wasn’t really registered. She wasn’t at all happy when I returned to inform her that the county website accessed its voter registration information from — wait for it — the secretary of state’s database.

The Fulton County elections department may well be mismanaged from the top down if, as at least one poll worker asserts, workers were still delivering voter registration lists hours after the polls opened.

My biggest problem with the whole debacle was the lack of give-a-damn on the part of election officials. The county worker at my polling place gave me a provisional ballot only after I proved unwilling to simply slink away without casting my vote. I heard her say, multiple times, “There’s nothing we can do.” She said this to people who were newly registered, who had changed their address, who voted in the last election and hadn’t moved or changed ANYTHING, who had made the deadline, damn it, and had SEEN their name on the registration list.

There’s nothing we can do.

Computers have made it easy for people like this to rule over their lazy little kingdoms. You’re not in the computer. There’s nothing we can do.

I’m not going to make it easy for her next time. If I have to stand outside my polling place (at a legal distance, of course) wearing a sandwich board exclaiming “ASK ME ABOUT PROVISIONAL BALLOTS IF YOU HAVE BEEN DENIED YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE,” I’m going to make it much more difficult to disenfranchise voters through incompetence.

Put that on your official list, bureaucrats.

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