Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Primary Elections, Changes Since 2002, and Vera

Every four years, a global phenomena occurs: a February 29, the Summer Olympics, and to find out who will be the next "leader of the free world."

Today was Primary Election Day here in my state of Ohio.  Some folks call today "Super Tuesday Part Deux"; to me, this is more like "Big Azz Tuesday."  More votes are at stake between candidates for various parties.  Some candidates might call it a campaign depending on how poorly they do in specific states. Yeah, today is a big deal.

Realizing that today was Tuesday, Primary Election Day, I know, as an American, it is a civic duty (not an actual requirement, but maybe it should be) to vote.  For me, it's the realization of what forefolks have done many years ago, just to be able to have this chance.  It would suck canal water for me to let those people down (and this is a good opportunity for a swift kick in the pants to keep voting whenever possible).

For those who are curious as to how voting works where I live (State of Ohio, Cuyahoga County), here's my replay of events from this morning.

Now, most voting places in this area are at politically neutral locations, such as schools, libraries, and community centers.  Mine just happened to be at a local community center.  What struck me as odd was there were no campaign volunteers representing different candidates, hovering around the entrance way for voters to go in and out of.  The last time I voted (which was in the 2012 general election, oops), these folks were everywhere.  According to the Ohio Revised Code, these "volunteers" are now another thing in the past, and it's probably a good thing, considering the current political climate.

I go in to the facility and make my way to the voting area, which is usually a wide open area for poll workers, voting machines, and patrons can all move freely.  The first thing I had to do was find the set of poll workers who were handling my specific district (which is made up of a ward and a subdivision within that ward).

Next, I'm asked the most dreaded question at any voting location:

Poll worker: "Hi, sweetie. May I see your ID, please?"

So if you do present your identification (driver's license or state identification cards; passports are not eligible for identification in voting), you can get a regular ballot.  If you don't have any eligible identification, you get a provisional ballot (which may be used in the event that a race for a specific position is too close to call by regular ballots).

I present my ID and as soon as the poll worker opens her polling book, which holds the names of all registered voters in that district, the first page it landed on was where my name was, heh heh.  After asking me what my party affiliation was (this only happens during primary elections), a second poll worker handed me a folder with a long and thick piece of paper sticking out of each end.  I sign my name in the polling book, indicating that I was both present and counted for.

Now, I have to find a spot to actually cast my vote, or choose who I want to be in charge.  In the past, few years, Cuyahoga County has had its fair share of voting woes; namely in the 2004 general election, where an electronic voting snafu disqualified a large number of votes.  I think, out of all 88 counties in Ohio, only Cuyahoga County has the privilege of using traditional mark-in paper ballots instead of using an electronic device to count your vote.  Yeah, we Cuyahogans are special like that.  I find an open voting booth, which is nothing more than a table with three walls surrounding the table top to ensure some type of privacy and no external interference, and begin the voting process.

In my case, this folder has instructions as to how to complete the ballot, what to do when finished, and where to deposit the ballot or counting when the polls close.  Yay. Then I open up the folder to find two pieces of thick cardstock paper, the actual ballots themselves.  And if I didn't read the directions on the folder on how to fill out the ballot, there were more instructions on the ballot, just to make sure I knew what the hell I was doing.

Okay, I now finish my ballot.  The next instruction was to tear off a small snippet of paper at the bottom of both sheets to turn in to the polling workers at my district table (for what I don't remember).  And then finally, I feed my ballot, one sheet at a time, into this facsimile (fax) looking electronic device which scans the ballot and counts it into its tabulation.  Upon completion of the ballot scanning, I turn in the folder in which my ballot was in and in exchange, I get a sticker for voting ("I [shape of a heart] VOTING").

So, who did you vote for, Vera?

Ain't none of your got damn business who I voted for.  That's why voting is done in a private setting, so that you don't get attacked by supporters of your candidate's opponents.

Aw come on! You share practically everything else about you on this blog!

And?  It's the choice of what I share that makes it all the more intriguing.

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