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Tuesday
Feb192008

Chad, Where Is Thy Punch?

Several of you have requested a larger font. Official Administrator Answer: I hear you, but WordPress, in an odd show of non-awesomeness, does not. There's no way to enlarge the font without paying for a CSS upgrade, which 1) I can't afford and 2) have no idea how to run anyway. It's like my marriage in blog contract form. The best I can tell you is to hold down the control key and hit the plus key a couple times, which will size everything right up. Apple users? You are, as always, screwed.

Now that the moving dust has settled, we may celebrate the many highlights of the Ginger Double Primary:

Worst SAT Flashback: Optical scanning machine. In an attempt to avoid under-or-overvote issues due to a cumbersome, arcane 1960's chad-based system, Virginia has switched to a zippy, first-rate 1970's scan-based system involving a piece of paper and a Sharpie. I put the Sharpies in the voting booths, because, as the only holder of a political science degree in the room, I was the sole person thus qualified.

Coolest Moment: A black gentleman, born in 1941, when his mother would have to enter a segregated bathroom in order to change his diaper, cast a vote for Obama.

Most Important Job: Mine. I was manning the touch-screen voting booth, which also, the second I stepped near it, ceased to function. And the touch-screen booth was near the door, which meant that I was in charge of the "I VOTED" stickers. The stickers were very important, especially when people found out that we didn't have any. Any candidate could have cleaned up the day, had he stood outside the door guaranteeing a each American a sticker if elected. We finally sent one of the workers out to headquarters to get a roll, lest a riot begin.

Thanks Loads, 24 Hour News Cycle Award: I cannot tell you how many people wished to discuss who they were voting for, and why, or were wild to emphasize that in the event they were taking the ballot of the opposite party, this wasn't how they usually voted. Here's a tip, People of Ginger: We were making $6.25 an hour, and we didn't care. When a nation looks to Don King, Al Franken, and Toby Keith as political commentators, this is what it gets.

Most Bulimic Voting Machine: My precinct. We had a single scanner machine, and I was Vote #1, because I was the newest Virginian and the newest worker and we had to figure out if the machine worked or not. It sucked my vote in with a satisfying whoosh, and... spit it right back out again with a very angry RRRRRRRRRRR! This happened at least seventy percent of the time. It was the Mary-Kate Olsen of voting machines.

Best Arguments for Voter IQ Test: When the voters approached the sign-in table, we were required by Ginger law to ask them whether they wished to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary. Following are actual answers from actual people:

"Yes."

"Both."

"Hillary."

"That's a very personal question, young lady."

This last was my favorite. I had before me this person's date of birth, home address, driver's license, gender, and the same information for each member of the household, and they were upset over which Binder of Democracy received a little checkmark for the day. Dude: It doesn't matter which way you vote. The telemarketing robocall people will find you.

"I Am Old" Award: The college student who skipped up to the table, announced that this was her very very first time to vote! and produced her driver's license, which confirmed that she was born in...1989.

Worst Voting Station Ambiance: My precinct. We were holed away on the stage of a high school gym, which was painted black and hadn't been cleaned or swept or de-loused since the chads ran the town. People left the sunshine and walked through a heavy stage door, only to face rows and rows of empty theater seats, three surly people at a long table, and the very heart of darkness. It was like voting from the inside of a diesel engine, or some sort of low-rent American Idol audition : "That vote was rubbish! Absolute rubbish!"

Finger Directly in the Eyeball of Identity Politics Award: Young black man who voted for Mike Huckabee.

Mistiest Moment: Opening the machines and hearing the precinct captain read back the total votes for the candidates.

Second-Mistiest Moment: Two minutes later, when he handed me a certification form and #2 lead pencil and told me to add up the totals and fill everything out in triplicate.

obama 93, hillary 81, bill richardson 0 at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

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Reader Comments (12)

You are not old... *I* am old. When the 19 year old girl who bought my car kept calling me Miss Kris and then told me that her mom was only a few years older than me, I could have cried.
I'm ONLY fricking 33!! To quote Gob Bluth, "COME ON!"

February 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKris

As well you should, Katrina! Although, I'll raise see a skip to the check-in table, and raise you an uber-dorky voting themed 18th birthday party.

February 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Finger Directly in the Eyeball of Identity Politics Award: Young black man who voted for Mike Huckabee.

Very funny, MB.

Perhaps one of these days I'll volunteer to work the polls. It sounds like it's fascinating.

Oh, and about the "old" thing - a few weeks ago, my husband and I went to dinner. The hostess recognized me - I used to babysit her and her three siblings. I used to change the youngest child's diapers, for cryin' out loud, and now he's a high school freshman, and on the football team.

The oldest two are in COLLEGE. And she (the hostess) drives.

I sat at the table and looked at my husband and said, "Gee I feel old." Add to that the fact my son will be one in about three weeks and it's insane.

So it really has nothing to do with numerical age, but one's life experiences.

February 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Lou the Reader

Just last weekend I decided to go with my sister and renew my voting card. I got that card when I was 21, so obviosuly when I used to show it as an ID people wouldn't buy it. 13 years later my new picture will finally show my mug covered with facial hair, with a few of them turning white, which hopefully won't be noticed :-(

Based on the reading of your post, I hereby predict that 20 years from now (when the majority of poll workers will have passed to the afterlife) the election of the american president will be performed in the form of a reality TV show, which will be a mix of 'American Idol' and 'The Apprentice'.

February 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

Apple key plus Plus sign key enlarges text for Mac users. Don't ya fret.

February 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersmc

Ah! I feel better now. I'm an original Mac baby, but it's been a long, long time.

February 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Wait, you get stickers when you vote? We don't even get a "Thanks for coming out!" when we vote! What is this country coming to that I am denied a sticker?

February 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Ah, 1989, the year I was finally old enough to vote! That means, at 36, I have been voting half my life. And I still skip up to the check-in table :)

February 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina

We used to get "I Voted!" pins. But I guess Indiana decided they didn't want to be held liable if voters, beholding the choices in front of them, chose to stab themselves in the eyes rather than cast a ballot.

Oh, and you want old? On Saturdays, the local adult-contemporary station plays a classic Casey Kasem countdown show from this week in some year of the '80s. Last Saturday, it was 1983. I actually remember things that happened in 1983. Four of my coworkers had not yet been born in 1983.

P.S. nice new digs, MB, but I like the old logo better.

February 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermike the long-term reader

I had voted in three presidential elections by 1989. I'm old.

Mike is right - the choices we've had for the Indiana legislature recently make me want to retch. The Republican candidate for my Indiana House district a couple of elections ago hired a stunt family to appear in his ads. The Democrat was so liberal he made my teeth hurt. I held my nose when I voted. Nonetheless, I will be working at the polls for the special Congressional election on March 11.

Bravo for WordPress!

February 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteranne the reader

Holy cow, I just noticed this:

I’ll [see] you a skip to the check-in table, and raise you an uber-dorky voting themed 18th birthday party.

Now THAT is dorky. At least you could have gone with smoking, or Powerball tickets.

February 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermike's never the same twice

[...] Posted on February 22, 2008 by MB As soon as I gathered a wealth of demonstrable election experience, I considered running for President, and then I remembered that the campaign would last exactly as [...]

February 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAunt President « Blonde
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