Posted By Kristabella on October 31, 2008
Right now, I should be packing. I’m leaving in the morning to drive to Minnesota to visit my friend Julie. And I’m really looking forward to it!
I had planned to post the answers to the questions for Bacon today. But then I was out of the house a majority of the afternoon and now am just too tired to do anything. I am so screwed when I go back to work and am expected to be alert and productive for at least eight hours a day. Four hours out of the house doing mostly nothing has made me exhausted. Only four hours.
So today I went to get my eyebrows waxed in preparation for my big trip and for my interviews next week. I figured since I would already be out and showered, I would go and vote. It was the last day of early voting and since I have 2 interviews on Election Day, I figured this was the easiest way to knock it out. Plus, I needed to walk past the polling place on the way to the bus to go pick up my rental car for the weekend.
When I turned the corner by the park, I was shocked at what I saw. I saw a line stretching out the door and around the building. I took my place in line and was so thankful that I put my book in my purse at the last minute before I left the house. As I stood there, I overheard some chatter about the wait. Thinking that the line wasn’t that long and that this place should be prepared, I figured it would be about 30-45 minutes.
I was wrong. I was dead, dead wrong.
I got there around 2:30. Some guy passing out flyers told us he had heard it was about a two hour wait from where we were standing. TWO HOURS! On a Thursday afternoon! Why aren’t any of these people at work? Are all these people unemployed too? If so, then why do they look so put together like they shower every day? I bet they don’t ever forget to brush their teeth!
With a two-hour wait staring me in the face, I didn’t know what to do. I figured I could see how it went and if it seemed that it would really take two hours, I could always jump out of line and go on Tuesday. But my polling place on Election Day is a small site. And if there are this many people here early voting, how many other people haven’t voted?
So I stuck it out. I dove into my book and I shuffled along. It did take two hours. And I know I shouldn’t complain. I mean, women fought for this right so many years ago, the right to stand on their feet for two hours to be able to cast their vote for elected officials. People in Florida have had to wait even longer. And really, how amazing is the turnout? Already, before today, over 300,000 people in Chicago have early voted. That is impressive. They are expecting record turnouts. This is a monumental election!
But I’m a selfish cow, so yeah, I’m going to complain. Because my feet are still killing me. It was 100 degrees in that little building. Want to know why internet? Because the park district building turned their heat on earlier in the week, instead of holding out until November. And guess what? It was like in the 60s today and is supposed to be near 70 tomorrow. See why I don’t turn the heat on until it gets really cold? Losing toes to frostbite be damned!
I also want to complain because of how poorly the process was executed in the polling place. This location was all touch screen voting booths. There were about 6-8 actual booths. Filling out the ballot didn’t take too long, minus all the county judges that were up for re-election. Why isn’t there a “Yes To All” button?
Well, they would bring five people in at a time. The longest part wasn’t the actual voting, it was having the people find your information in the computer and activate your card for the touch screen. There were only TWO people doing that in the room. I’m pretty sure, Chicago Board of Elections, we don’t need five people telling us how to fill out a form. Maybe we need more people doing the time-consuming part. Things would have moved a lot faster.
Obviously, I’m glad I voted and it is over and I don’t have to worry about fitting it in on election day. But standing on my feet for two hours really took all of my energy. And when I left, about 30 minutes before the cut off, there was a line even longer. Those people at the end of that line were excited about voting. They had the chipper look in their eyes of having not been beat down by line-standing all day. Little did they know they had about a three-hour wait ahead of them. (Because, in case you didn’t know, as long as you are in line before the polls close, you are allowed to cast your vote. Do not let anyone tell you different. And don’t let a line close to closing time deter you from doing your civic duty!)
There were even news cameras there to document all the waiting we all did. Thankfully they didn’t interview me and then post the news clip on the internet so people could comment and tell me how much I suck for voting and how lame I am for waiting in line. (No. That isn’t going to get old any time soon.)
So let this be a lesson to all of you – if my lazy ass can wait patiently in line for two hours to do my civic duty, none of you have any excuses. All of you, remember to get out there and vote on November 4th. Have any voting questions? Go here to find out all the information you need to be prepared when you vote. But whatever you do, just vote. Be a part of history. Help make a change for the future. VOTE.