My personal election nightmare

Published 10:50 pm Monday, October 27, 2008

From the looks of it, this Nov. 4 is going to be a gigantic ordeal for millions of Americans.

Lines at polling places are expected to be hours long. Millions of absentee ballots already have been cast – I can’t imagine how many were applied for under false pretenses, just because people didn’t want to stand in line, but still wanted to vote.

I had a heap of trouble getting my absentee ballot. Needless to say, I’ll be working on Election Day, so I have a valid excuse. I don’t live in Suffolk, so this story is no reflection on the wonderful folks at the Suffolk Voter Registrar’s office, who have been swamped since February with ballots and registrations that likely could fill their office a foot deep.

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I never received by mail the ballot I requested from my city’s voter registrar. I made four phone calls trying to figure out what had happened, and I finally got the person who knew what was going on to call me back. She said my ballot had been mailed – I had just never received it.

So I wound up schlepping to the registrar’s office on my day off Saturday to vote. I had to sign a statement saying I never received my ballot, and that I would not vote twice, and that I knew if I did I would be thrown in prison for approximately 10 years.

I was then given a sealed absentee ballot, which I marked behind the little cardboard screen set up on the side of the room.

Here’s the kicker: After I sealed my ballot and handed it back, the woman I gave it to proceeded to open it right in front of me as she bid me good day.

I cannot say what a feeling of unease that gave me. What if the woman didn’t like the way I voted and decided to drop my ballot right in the shredder (which was less than three feet from her)? Granted, she could do that to any absentee ballot, but the fact remains that she knew how I, personally, voted.

I hope my ballot made it to the “counted” pile. At any rate, there’s nothing I can do about it now.

Despite the headaches that are going to pop up in Suffolk and all over America this Nov. 4, I hope that doesn’t discourage anybody from going to vote.