And it keeps me furiously focused on my obsession about voting rights. You know, the odd notion that every citizen in this country at or over the age of 18 must be allowed to vote easily, simply, without hassle, without discouragement, without traveling unreasonable miles to find a voting booth. It could be by mail, by internet, or the way I vote, by foot:
From the front door of my building I walk three and one half blocks, turn left, walk another half block and enter my local public school, where, if I’ve forgotten my district number (I have a memory ploy: my district is the number of Devon Kennard, one of my Giants’ linebackers), I ask at a table by giving my home address and a helpful poll worker looks up my district in a big book. Then I go to a table for my district, give the polling aides my name, they flip through a large record, find my name — with a copy of my signature from the previous election — and ask me to sign anew on the line.
They then give me a ballot and a writing implement, I take both to an open booth with a shelf upon which I put my ballot, and carefully contemplate my choices before filling in the Ο next to each person for whom I wish to vote. I then take my ballot to a scanner, stick it in, the scanner sucks it up and shoots the paper copy onto a pile behind the scanner. You know, proof.
I am given an I Voted sticker which I paste on my jacket, thank everyone who helped me, exit the polling place (the school auditorium or gym, don’t remember which), buy a homemade cupcake from the school kids selling them for a dollar, and leave, eating my cupcake.
I vote in every single election, even the ones nobody pays attention to, because I’m with Andrea Anthony, whose rotten experience trying to vote in Wisconsin starts the Mother Jones story:
You can’t say Andrea Anthony didn’t try. A 37-year-old African American woman with an infectious smile, Anthony had voted in every major election since she was 18. On November 8, 2016, she went to the Clinton Rose Senior Center, her polling site on the predominantly black north side of Milwaukee, to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton. “Voting is important to me because I know I have a little, teeny, tiny voice, but that is a way for it to be heard,” she said. “Even though it’s one vote, I feel it needs to count.”
She’d lost her driver’s license a few days earlier, but she came prepared with an expired Wisconsin state ID and proof of residency. A poll worker confirmed she was registered to vote at her current address. But this was Wisconsin’s first major election that required voters—even those who were already registered—to present a current driver’s license, passport, or state or military ID to cast a ballot. Anthony couldn’t, and so she wasn’t able to vote.
The poll worker gave her a provisional ballot instead. It would be counted only if she went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new ID and then to the city clerk’s office to confirm her vote, all within 72 hours of Election Day. But Anthony couldn’t take time off from her job as an administrative assistant at a housing management company, and she had five kids and two grandkids to look after. For the first time in her life, her vote wasn’t counted.
I bolded what Ms. Anthony said because that’s exactly the way I feel.
I suggest everyone donate to Mother Jones — it’s a non-profit foundation, tax deductible, at least this past year — because I need them to investigate precisely how dark money bought the Wisconsin, Missouri and Indiana senate seats.