I went yesterday to vote in our Flori-duh primary. Easily found a parking spot very close to the door. Walked straight in - no problem. Went right up to the gentleman who was dealing with people who had last names in the section of the alphabet where my name falls. I handed him my driver's license - because your voter registration card is not considered valid identification to use for voting (HUH??). He then loudly announced my complete name for everyone in the room to hear. Scanned through his three-ring binder until he found it - and then announced my complete street address! I quietly asked him if voter information was supposed to be private. He replied that it was - said he was sorry for being so loud and asked me to sign beside my name in his little book.
He took a sticker from beside my name and stuck it on a little blue piece of paper. He handed it to me along with my license and pointed to a woman on the other side of another table and said to take it to her. A walked a few steps and stopped to read this little paper. Name, address, party affiliation and a place for a signature.
My cane and I thumped across the wooden Moose Lodge dance floor to voting assistance person #2. A lovely lady who I handed my little blue piece of paper to. She read it and then asked for my license. The likelihood that I had just mugged someone and stolen their little blue paper was ZERO. There were two other voters in there at the time and about ten workers. But, I guess rules are rules - so I handed her my license. She very carefully compared the two and then asked me what my address was! HUH?? Okay, I told her my address. She then commented on what a lovely street I live on. She asked me to sign the little blue slip of paper. I hesitated for a moment while she smiled at me . . . and I smiled back. When it became a little awkward, I asked for the paper and a pen. Flustered, she handed me both, I signed and asked for my license. She told me that she needed to verify my signature.
She finally relinquished my license and reached beside her and got an empty file folder and her "assistant" checked my little blue slip - announcing to the world loudly what my party affiliation was - and got a ballot to put in the file folder. You know, to respect my privacy. I asked them what the point of the folder was if they were going to yell out my affiliation as they put my ballot in the folder. I then asked if they might change the way they handled these things in the future. They might just get in trouble for stomping all over other people's freedoms!
I took my ballot into my little shielded area and did my duty - voting for who I hoped and prayed would be the best choice from what I had learned over the past several months. Then I went thumping over to the ballot eating machine. This thing looks very much like an industrial strength shredder. And when you slide your ballot in, it certainly sounds as if that's what's happening inside.
With our record here in Flori-duh, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the final step at the local Moose Lodge voting site is to just shred your ballot as you pick up your "I Voted" sticker at the door!
Don't get me wrong. America is the greatest! I have yet to see any other country that even comes close to being as wonderful! I'll gladly live with all my petty little complaints - I will still fly my flag - proudly sing the national anthem and defend her. But - one of my rights is freedom of speech - and I choose to use it today!
The Charles Meister Has Arrived…
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