Last week I voted. What happened?

Well, nothing. Except I voted.

I have a feeling I’ve said much of this previously but it’s important so here I am, saying it again. Because I spend some time on Twitter (I don’t care what that crazy man calls it) seeing the novel attempts either to suppress voting or to make it so effortful it might cause people to give up voting.

Here I am in a very large city going over to my polling place for early voting. It’s a large utilitarian space in a public school. I enter. There are a few steps down to a level where sits a friendly polling place guy who warns me to hold onto the banister. To please him, I hold onto the banister.

I enter The Voting Room. It is very big. Scattered over the floor are (a) tables where one registers and gets the ballot; (b) those funky little portable writing surfaces surrounded by privacy walls, where one will fill out the ballot; (c) scanners; (d) smiling polling people who know where I should go; and (e) one uniformed policeman who sits quietly in a corner.

I go to a table. The lady behind the table asks for my last name. I tell her. She types on a keyboard and even before I can spill out my first name, she gives me my first name. Yes! It’s me! She asks for my address. I give it to her. Then she swings a nifty computer screen to me, introduces me to a pen (which I get to keep), I pick up the pen and I sign my name on the screen.

Then another polling place person prints out my very own ballot, encases it in a big folder, hands it to me and directs me to one of those funky portable writing surface, where I use that pen to vote by checking off or filling in the little squares next to the names of my preferred candidates.

I’ve been reminded that on the opposite side of the ballot are two propositions. I flip my ballot and vote for the propositions.

I bring my ballot to the scanner, insert it and watch it sucked into the machinery.

There are no tables full of cupcakes being sold by school kids, so there’s nothing left for me to do but say goodbye to everyone and go home.

It is beyond my comprehension how voting has been made more complicated than this. I mean, I know who is trying to gum up the works and why, but I’m telling all you voters who don’t have the same sort of easy experience I have, get rid of the elected and non-elected officials who have set up barriers to your voting by forcing you to prove your identity beyond anything more complicated than signing your name on a computer screen.


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