Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Our Civic Doody



Ferguson Missouri has a sixty seven percent black  population. Their mayor is white, only one of the six city council members is black, and nobody on the school board is black. Now I understand the urge to march and protest the killing of a black kid by one of the fifty white police officers (only three are black) in Ferguson, but that isn't going to get anybody anywhere. The real reason the black population of Ferguson is totally unrepresented is the fact that nobody votes. Other than presidential elections, nearly no one votes. The black turnout for the last municipal election in Ferguson was seven percent, which allowed the seventeen percent (also abysmal) of white voters to out vote them.

Yesterday was primary election day here in Florida. I know that a lot of people vote early and by mail now, but I don't think it's all that many. Early yesterday Mark and I toddled on over to the quaint little church where we vote. I like Mark, still get a kick out of the actual going to the polls and voting on election day. It seems to add a bit of excitement to the process. So we walk into the place and over along one wall are eight voting booths. On the other wall are two electronic ballot scanners. Out in front of the church was an election official who advised us to have our I.D.'s ready, which we did. the nice lady sitting just inside the door took my driver's license and scanned it. She then gave me a little receipt, "Take that over to those tables honey." Sitting at a long table were three more election officials, one for republican, one for democrat, and one for something else. Possibly she was in charge of it all. I handed my receipt to the democratic official, and he handed me a ballot and directed me over to a little spindly, cardboard voting booth. It was very dark over where they had set up the voting booths, and I had a little trouble with the names and the small circles I was supposed to fill in, but I managed. I now walked over to the person in charge of telling me to slip my ballot into the scanner. "Please, slip your ballot into the scanner.", she told me. So I did, and the ballot got sucked in, and then the ballot came shooting back out. "Oh dear, something is wrong." the lady in charge of the scanning exclaimed. She took my ballot, marked it spoiled, and instructed me to get another from the long table. Suddenly the whole polling place was in an uproar. Nobody it seems actually knew what to do. "You must have colored outside the circles on the ballot." one person said. "Do you need some help voting sir?" another questioned. "He's blind, he's legally blind, yes he needs help." blurted out another voice very similar to Marks. "I'll help him vote." Mark told them. "Oh, no! He has to request that somebody help him". So I requested that Mark help me vote, which resulted in more forms being filled out, and more hand wringing.

Here's how it went. Seven polling place officials, eight voting booths set up in a darkened corner of a little church, along with Mark and me. Nobody else in the place. Nobody else came in the place the entire time we were there. I walked over to one of the little booths and again voted, but this time I just handed the ballot to Mark and let him fill in all the little circles. I didn't even tell him which ones I wanted. I'm sure he/I voted for every black candidate on the ballot. When I walked back over to the lady in charge of scanning, she again told me to insert the ballot into the machine. This time it worked. The lady also pointed out how many people had voted before me. Ten. Ten people had voted as of eleven o'clock in the morning. So if we get a bunch of buffoons elected this time, nobody can bitch about the politicians we elected. Nobody except me, Mark and the nine other people who voted.

2 comments:

Patti said...

I cannot stand when I hear people say "why vote it won't even count anyway!". Gah.

Garrett said...

If only three people voted whether or not to raise taxes, only two votes would be needed to raise taxes for the 98% who did not vote at all.