There are two jobs I would like to do in additional to my 9–5 career. I want to be on the air conditioning/heat committee at church ( Dear St. Paul’s, setting the air conditioning at 78 degrees is not air conditioning, it does however, represent an oven. Love in Christ, Bobbie) and I want to organize and lead the group of people that volunteer at the polls. OH MY GOODNESS…..I’m not generally a high strung person, but I like organization and promptness. Organization and promptness was not currently available in our precinct. Let’s face it, people who are retired, and I will be one of these people some day, have no worries about time. Time is not exactly a resource they care much about. They paid their dues of running kids around, meeting deadlines, volunteering etc. They are now relaxing and enjoying life. They have looked forward to this election for the last four years. It is a social event that is for sure. I’m happy for them. I hope I live to see that day.
The day of the election, I thought I would pop in, vote and be on my way to work. The polls open at 6:30….or do they? Our faithful pollsters, Hilda, Matilda, Edith and George (the token man) didn’t quite have their sh** together at 6:30 or 6:35 or 6:40. Time is ticking and my head is about ready to explode. They are shuffling and re-shuffling papers, taping crap on the walls, talking amongst themselves about not liking the way the books are put together. Meanwhile, the rest of us were sitting on a bench waiting for these four spark plugs to start hitting on all four cylinders. (I know nothing about cars so this analogy may not be a good one) The line is getting longer and longer. Some guy in line next to me starting complaining about how the news said there were already problems with the voting machines. I just looked at him and pointed to Hilda who wore the lanyard around her neck that programs your computer cards you use to vote. Very dryly I said “therein may be our problem” It’s probably not the voting machine. There is probably more than one Hilda around the country. Bless her heart she is trying. She is doing the first card. She slides it in…..it beeps. She slides it out…. it beeps. She turns it over….. it beeps. She wipes it on her pants and tries again…it beeps, she gets her hankie out to wipe it off and it beeps again.she takes her glasses off, she puts her glasses on… She can’t get it to work. About this time my aneurysm started acting up.
The worst part however was just the fact they were not ready at 6:30 sharp. As more time passes and I’m getting more and more pissed. I make eye contact with Matilda and give her the stink eye, eye roll, and a deep sigh. She pretends not to notice. That didn’t help. We continued to sit some more. I commented to the lady beside me how I really need to get to work. She says snidely “well you just may need to come after work” Really? Really? You just may need to….I don’t know…….shut up. I’m here on time (it’s past time now) The four amigos are getting a list ready for Fred of what they want for lunch, and I have some where to be. This day is going to have a record turn out and we are not equipped to handle the first three people in line??
Let’s move on to the second and actually the biggest problem. I would bet my next paycheck that the procedure for voting has been the same at this particular precinct since I was in diapers. You go in and there are 4 people sitting at the table. Edith, asks for your ID (yes a valid ID, what nerve!!) She looks to make sure you are who you say, your license is not expired, your address is correct and you are in the correct precinct. I was expecting her to say something like “oh, I see you lie about your weight…. Mrs. Obama has just the diet for you!”, but she didn’t. She validates who you are and then she looks in the BIG BOOK for your name. She compares your information and address to what is written in her big book. She then passes your license to Matilda, who has another big book in front of her. She finds your name, and has you sign beside it. Then she yells past Fred down to the computer programmer/IT manager Hilda “SHE’S IN SANDY VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT!!! I waltz right past Fred who apparently is just eye candy and a decent lunch for these women. I get to Hilda and hold my breath. I say a quick prayer that goes something like this.
Please don’t let it be this hard to get into heaven.
Please tell me that the Big Book is automated and
not manned by Moses. (he had a a little time issue getting out of the dessert)
Please tell me there will be no one flipping through pages while I
hold what little breath I have left.
Also, God, Please help Hilda as she programs my card.
In Jesus Name I pray, AMEN.
Hilda does a great job.
There is a sign that says, Please don’t take more than five minutes to vote” OK really? It took me 25 minutes, four seniors, and two gigantic books to get through to a voting machine and they want you to take no more than five minutes to exercise your right to vote. I should have brushed up on the issues because I really didn’t know what some of them were. If I were to read them all, it seriously would have taken a lot longer than 5 minutes.
Now, in all seriousness, is this how they vote in NYC? Chicago? LA? Is there no better system out there? This truly isn’t a volunteer problem exactly (though they should have been ready for their first voter at exactly 6:30) The year is 2016. We put a four wheeler on Mars in the last couple years. Do we really still have to flip through gigantic books and have four people to help one person vote. I think it’s just crazy. Some of this is my fault, I’m kind of old fashioned and want to vote on election day and not by mail, but I have to say I will reconsider next time. If I want to see retirement I need to calm my racing heart down and avoid stressful situations.
Meanwhile, I’m getting my resume together to be a volunteer next year. I have my girls picked out, plus John.(he will hand out stickers) Vivian is in charge of breakfast, lunch and dinner. I will be there at 5am setting up and decorating. It will be a blast!