Thursday, November 4, 2010

Grassroots Voter Disenfranchisement

My polling spot has been in the same school for about 10 years. It stayed there even after the districts were condensed in 2007. This year it was moved to a public works building a few blocks away. The sign posted on the school forwards voters to a different place, which is over 3 miles away. The sign is wrong and multiple calls by different people to various officials failed to correct this.

After I went to the erroneous spot, a Painters Union building, they were extremely helpful. They were aware of the problem, had made calls, could not get any help fixing it. One person even had gone over and hung a correct sign over the wrong one, but this was torn down (could have been by someone who thought the correct sign was a trick). At one point, a poll worker looked me straight in the eye and said "they don't want you to vote".

I went to the correct polling place, and asked them about the incorrect sign. Several workers muttered various things under their breath, I couldn't catch the specifics, but it was clear that they were very frustrated by the situation. They did say they had called everyone, all the way up to the commissioner.

I went home and made all sorts of calls. The sign stayed incorrect all day. I went over and hung out for a few hours at the end of the day, and directed people to the correct site. The people who showed up at the old site were a very different demographic from those who I saw at the correct site (when I voted). (I did entertain the thought of selectively informing people of the error. But I had already decided I couldn't do that, and then it was not an issue, since those who appeared to be from the other party were not showing up at the old site [someone got the memo]).

At the very least this was sloppy, careless, and disrespectful of the voting process. At worst.....

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