Friday, October 24, 2008

Absentee Voting

I always thought it would just be easier to vote absentee and save myself the trip to the polls. Last night I was the 'witness' for an absentee voter. As with any process created by a bureaucracy, it was no simple task.Three envelopes, multiple signatures with a registration card and a two page instruction sheet. I needed to read it a few times just to make sure we did everything correct.

As the witness, you are advised to go through all materials with the voter. First, if not registered, complete and sign the registration card. Then, go over the ballot with the voter to make sure they understand how many to vote for where. Furthermore, a brief explanation that a non vote on the Amendment is a No vote. At this point I hand her the 'Ballot Security Envelope' and walk away. I did not comment or promote any candidate or cause. I did my non partisan job of simply making sure she understood the process as a first time voter. As I sat on the couch waiting for her to complete the ballot, I did catch her eying the Vote Yes commercial that began playing. She watched the whole thing, then turned her head and completed the ballot.

Once she placed the ballot into the security envelope, I returned to the table to go over Envelope B. This is where the voter and witness record identifying information and sign to verify the voter has complied with the process. Once this envelope is signed and sealed, it is placed into a third and final envelope for mailing. The secret ballot is secure, in envelope A, which has NO identifying information. All Identifying information is on the outside of envelope B.

Over all the process was basic, yet bureaucratically time consuming. For me, I've always liked the fact that I can walk, yes walk, a block and a half to my poll the morning of the election. I stand there in line with my 'neighbors', and work my way to the confines of my curtain draped booth. All I have to do is show up with a heart beat, and sign my name on the dotted line. Its just as quick, and for me, much more rewarding.


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