I’m happy to say that my commute home for this Election Night was nothing like it was in 2008. Then again, in 2008 I was at the mercy of public transportation…but making twice as much as I do now…at a place that laid me off in 2009…and will be closing its doors permanently in a few months.
But I digress. This election did not go off entirely without a hitch and a rather humorous (or annoying) one at that.
My voter information has always been sent to our former address, or Ann’s folks’ house. We had been there for a bit until Anthony was born in 2004 and moved out once he came along, and my mistake was not immediately updating my address with the registrar.
So 2008 rolls around and we are now living at what was Ann’s grandfather’s house – and I get my Voter Guide delivered to our former address. I pick it up and look over my options. I fill out all of my choices and am ready to take it to the polls at a local car dealership. Keep in mind that “local” only pertains to our previous address; we now live seven miles east of that.
I get to the polling place and show them my ID which has my current address. I tell them that I have since moved and asked what I needed to do in order to update my information and have my stuff sent to the proper address as well as have a closer polling place.
They tell me to fill out a form, which I did, and that it will take – get this – at least one election to update my information. Fine, I thought. I can deal with this.
Flash-forward to 2012 when my Voter Guide shows up at the in-laws’ place yet again. Apparently updating address in a computer database is a skill which only few in the state of California are qualified as it has been four years and I’m still not getting my information delivered to a home I’ve lived in for the past eight years. Then again, this is the state of California we are dealing with.
As I do every year in order to expedite the voting process, I select everything ahead of time so I’m in and out in a snap.
Election Night. I get home to pick up Anthony since now that he’s getting older, it’s important for him to understand how our democratic process works. We head over to my polling place – another car dealership – and sign in at the table.
After showing my ID I once again explain my situation to the volunteer.
“When I voted in 2008, I requested that my address be updated. I have not lived at the address you have since he was born. As you can see, he’s no longer a baby. What do I need to do to have it updated?”
The volunteer explained.
“When you are done voting, go and see that gentleman over there,” she points to a man who looked out of sorts. “He has the forms you need to update your address.”
She continues. “It could take one or two elections to get the information in the system.”
With the befuddled look I had on my face, she could probably hear the needle of my mind’s phonograph being annoyingly scratched across the grooves of my brain’s LP.
“Wait wait wait. One or two elections? I was told one election in 2008 and it wasn’t fixed. Now it’s two? Yeesh, he’ll almost be able to vote by then,” I said as I placed my palm on Anthony’s scalp and rustled his hair.
She didn’t have much of an explanation beyond that and again directed me to visit the gentleman when I was done casting my vote.
So I vote away and place my ballot. I stroll over to see the dude – I think his name was Dave – to get a form and update my address.
I explain what needs to be done without going into the ugly details I had already mentioned.
“Oh, I think I’m all out of those forms.” My jaw drops to the floor as Dave begins searching his table for something he knows damn well is not there. “But you can do it online.”
Then why have the forms? I think. State of California I remind myself.
So I get the URL from Dave and ask, “So is this going to take what, three elections now?” A few of the volunteers chuckled. Dave was stoic.
Now I am left with the task of updating my information online in the hopes that my Voter Guide will be sent to the proper address and my polling place will be much closer to home. A small price to pay for the right to participate in our democratic process.
And depending on whose math you believe, I will either be 47 or 52 (and Anthony, 12 or 16) by the time they finally get the damn thing straightened out.
By then, President Hilary Clinton will be up for her second term… :p