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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Will's election adventure

The background: I registered to vote back in the Spring at the DMV when I renewed my driver's license. A week before the election, my wife got a note in the mail telling her where her polling place was, but I got no such note, so I called the Board of Elections. They never heard of me, no record at all.

When I told the operator that I'd registered through the DMV she said they'd been having trouble with the DMV not forwarding info and I should call them.

I ended up calling Albany where their records showed that I'd registered correctly. They dug up my actual form and faxed it to the Board of Elections, who copied it and mailed it to me along with the letter. The letter told me to call the local B of E to find a polling judge on election day.

Of course, when I called the NYC B of E, they had no idea what a polling judge was, so I had to call Abany for the State B of E to find out where to go to find a polling judge.

And so begins our photo report this morning.

9:30 a.m. Someone finally answers the phone at the New York County saying there were polling judges standing by and to come on over.

No photos inside here. Security took my photo and voice and name and checked ID before I went in. I don't know what else is in this building, but damn.

The room I went to was full of older men in older suits. They heard my story, filled out a form with real old fashioned carbon paper.

They gave me this court order, signed by the judge, who still seemed judge-like even with a mouth full of breakfast sandwich.

And they gave me this polling place to go to.

Inside looks like a zoo, but really it's orderly and moving well. Somehow they've figured who should go into which booth to vote. (This was also my first time in the Gay/Lesbian Center so that made things interesting as well.)
But wait! Didn't you say you live on Greenwich Street? This polling station is for Greenwich Ave.!!!

So back to the polling headquarters I go, where they look up the correct district. They give me a new yellow piece of paper that says I should go to St. Anthony's church on Sullivan to vote. This is not where my wife was told to vote, but these guys triple check their book. I should mention that I told myself before I started that this would all take hours and I just wanted to see how it played out. If I hadn't told myself before hand to be patient and pleasant, this would have been hell.

The line at St. Anthony's was also moving pretty well, although the officials I encountered there were a little less together than the ones at 13th Street. I thought it was interesting that the one who actually set me up with my ballot was Chinese and didn't speak much English. Probably very useful for Chinese-Americans, but a little treacherous for me.

She did let me take a blank ballot though. Here it is for folks who are curious.

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