Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The Idiot Vote
Back in 2000, when I heard that a bunch of people’s votes weren’t being counted in the election because they didn’t punch the holes correctly, I thought to myself, “Well, if they’re too stupid to figure it out, frankly, I don’t want them making any major national decisions.” Then I congratulated myself on my superior intellect.
Yesterday I received my absentee ballot in the mail. I'd had to work for it. First I sent in a request form online at the Texas Secretary of State’s website. The ballot never arrived. I sent in another, it never arrived. Finally I made a couple of phone calls and asked for a ballot. They mailed me a request form for the ballot, which I filled it out and mailed back. Two weeks later a package with my ballot arrived.
There were many papers in this package, most of them translations or supplements that I didn’t need. I spread everything on my bed and got to work. I read the voting instructions carefully, filled out my ballot, stuck it in the envelope, sealed the envelope and signed the flap as directed. Then I saw a second envelope, the ballot envelope, sticking out among the papers on my bed.
"Where did you come from?" I thought. “You weren’t mentioned anywhere in the instructions. Nor were you mentioned in the list of Helpful Tips To Voters.” (Helpful tips included a pictorial on how to correctly shade in a square box in case the concept of coloring between the lines eluded you.)
According to the back of the ballot envelope, the ballot first had to be put in the ballot envelope, which was then put in the outside envelope, which was then sealed and signed. If the ballot wasn’t in the ballot envelope, it wouldn’t be counted. Fuck! I was one of those idiots I read about.
Over the next few hours, I tried anything I could to open the outside envelope. I steamed it, I microwaved it, I froze it. I did everything but stuff it with foie gras and serve it on toast points. The envelope wouldn’t budge. It was some sort of industrial strength glue with one million horse power.
There wasn’t enough time to request another and get it back before deadline. So today I got out a serrated knife and cut that bad bitch open, as carefully as I could, along the seal. Then I put the ballot in the first envelope, put that in the second envelope and by now the glue had lost its power so I taped it shut and hoped for the best.
I have no idea if my vote will count, though frankly, it probably shouldn’t.