It’s better than voting with ‘invisible ink’
I had a minor voting problem on Super Tuesday in California. Unbeknownst to me, my precinct was turned into a “mail-only” precinct. According to the San Mateo County election department, our precinct was too small (less than 200 people) so we were giving the “opportunity to vote by mail.” I replied, “actually, everyone in California has the opportunity to vote by mail. My precinct is denied the opportunity to vote at a local polling place on election day that almost every other CA resident enjoys.” Two additional points: isn’t the silly election board that draws the precincts in the first place? And if we are so small, wouldn’t it be easy to accommodate the small number of us at our usual polling place, which by the way, is still open?
So, there was no information of what to do on the board of elections web site. I got conflicting advice from the poll workers. One said, go get your mail-in ballot. When I pointed out that it was non-partisan, and did not have the democratic presidential candidates, another worker helpfully suggested that I vote provisionally. I was annoyed at that decision, because it means that my vote will take up to 28 days to be counted.
But then I heard the poll worker say: hey, we are running out of provisional ballots. Steer people away from using them so that we don’t run out! I made the hasty decision to take one of the few remaining ballots (11am!!) so I could vote.
These problems are a BIG deal. More than 1 in 5 voters in the democratic primary in CA are like me as ‘Decline-to-state’ voters, and these voters split better than 2 to 1 in favor of Obama over Clinton. That’s hundreds of thousands of votes. Read this story about the “double bubble trouble” in LA county.
But here’s the worst story so far: Chicago voters were told that broken voting pens were actually ‘invisible ink.’ Wow. We’ve really taken to heart the lessons of the 2000 election, haven’t we?