Remedial Voting School

I’m thinking about starting a website, where people can anonymously post their embarrassing voted-related stories.

I mean…people have those, right?

Like this morning, when I had to vote three times before the machine would accept my ballot. That was awkward. After the first fail, or maybe it was the second, the poll worker politely reminded my that I should only vote for one person. After the third fail I asked him to check my ballot because by then I was convinced I was probably an idiot.

For the record, I did nothing wrong.

Everyone was actually super nice and polite about it. Because poll workers are awesome like that. But I still felt like kind of an idiot. Even though, really, I did nothing wrong. I still don’t know why the ballot box wouldn’t accept me. I’ve never had that problem before.

Well, not that problem, but others.

Like the time I got a stern warning from a poll worker because I accidentally wore a campaign sticker into the polling place. (I was really excited).

Or the time I went to vote after registering through a student group and inexplicably my name wasn’t on the ballot almost as though my registration form had never gotten mailed even though the student group swore that it would.Yeah, that was awkward.

After standing around and hemming and hawing a bit, the friendly poll people directed me to a provisional ballot, assuring me that it would get looked at if it was a close race and counted if I was a legitimate voter after all. Not that I really thought my one vote counted to begin with.

My point in all this, is that if I can so easily come up with three times I’ve embarrassed myself at the polls, I’m sure others must have stories too. And I worry that those incidents depress turnout.

Poll workers have been nothing but cordial and helpful to me while I act a fool, but I still leave feeling a bit awkward and uncomfortable. And I’m someone who more or less knows how the system works. And who gets way too excited about voting. And who doesn’t so much mind acting like a fool in public (thanks, theater training!).

So I wonder about other folks who try to vote and fail. Who live in places where the poll workers aren’t quite so friendly. Who decide that really, this whole business just isn’t worth the trouble.

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