Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happenings: Election Day in NYC!!

The day is finally here! How excited are we?! So excited that my polling place, which is located in the lobby of the High School for Leadership on Trinity Place, was chocked full of people, mostly well-heeled yuppies, typing on their blackberries, dressed in their designer suits...oh and Russell Simmons, the music mogul. Very intimidating crowd. At one point, City Guy turned to me and said, all the women here look like Feist. That was pretty funny. But seriously, an hour was enough time for me to start questioning whether I was cool enough to live in this election district.

Anyhow, this is how it worked in my polling station. You had to stand in line twice--once to sign the voter registration book, the second time to use one of three voting machines for election districts 7, 10 and 95. The guy who worked our machine was saying in all the years he's worked elections, he's never seen it as crowded as it was today.

To give you a sense of how extraordinary this was--when I voted in the primary, I had ZERO wait. Today, I waited about an hour and 15 minutes to cast my vote. Not as bad as other places around the country, but what a difference a few months makes.

After waiting in line for over an hour, I'm unhappy to report the ancient mechanical voting machine broke down just before I got to use it!!! It got stuck! There was only ONE machine for our district, and they tried to call this number posted on the side of the machine for "Voting Machine Problems" but no one seemed to be answering, and no one working at the polling place seemed to know how to fix the problem.

Everyone left in line, including me, had to use paper ballots--they look like SAT answer forms. A bunch of pissed off yuppies joked about kicking the machine to get it working again. I hope these paper ballots get counted. This ship seems to have some leaks, if you know what I mean.

This is New York City! Why is our State so poor! Why is it little podunk towns in middle America have electronic voting and dozens of voting booths...and "I voted" stickers...when my precinct, which serves lawyers and bankers who work on Wall Street have only three rusty machines with levers...and no stickers by the way.

I live in election district #7, but I can't for the life of me find a map of Manhattan Election districts on Google, so I don't know what that means really. Another example of how arcane this election process is. Here are some pictures:

View of the room:
Where are our line begins:
Our line as it snakes around to the registration table...
Our goal....the little old ladies at our registration table!

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