Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Voter suppression?

For the past 13 years, my polling place has been a local church basement. I have always questioned why I was voting in a church. Seems to me a violation of separation of church and state. I never complained, as it is close and convienent.

A few weeks ago, I got a card in the mail saying my polling place had been changed. I was now to vote in the old school building, which holds our miniscule library and town offices.

Yesterday, I went to vote, and return some library books. The library is at one end of the school and the town court and offices are at the opposite end. I saw lots of cars parked near the court end of the building, and saw people going in that door to vote. I decided to park at the library end, return my books, and then make my way down the long corridor to vote.

I walked and I walked. Peeking in rooms to see if there were voting machines in them. Nothing.

I got almost to the end of the building and saw a sign that said the polling place was in the gym. I had no idea where the gym was located, nor would anyone else who had moved into the town in the last thirty years or so, when the school was closed.

I met up with a couple of senior ladies, who came in the door. I asked them if they knew where the gym was. They did, and said it was at the opposite end by the library and then around the corner. They were annoyed that they had used that door to enter, and now had a long walk ahead of them.

I made it to the gym and voted, before the two ladies even made it halfway to the gym. I felt bad for them, and now they would have the long walk back to their car.

I came home annoyed. I thought, how many people just gave up on voting, when they couldn't find the polling place? I know I was close to that point.

I told Jeff about it, and he thought I should call the news stations. He said they would love to do a story on voter suppression.

I hadn't thought of it as voter suppression, but now I understand how easily people can be persuaded not to vote, even when they want to.

I didn't call the news, but I did call the board of elections. All I asked for were some signs with arrows pointing people in the right direction, and maybe a sign that said, "Polling Place". Doesn't seem like rocket science.

They said that they would let the commissioner know, and hopefully have it corrected by November.

We'll see.

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