Wednesday, November 17, 2004

You can count on me

They finally counted my vote. After three phone calls and two promises to call me back, the elections commission told me that they had found the absentee ballot in question and it wasn't mine. They sent my provisional vote to be counted and the Web site now verifies that it has been accepted and counted.

But what if I hadn't pursued this? What if I'd just assumed my vote had been counted? And how many people had similar problems? I may be jaded about lots of things about this country, but I believe in the fundamental concept that everyone here has the right to vote. They may not exercise that right and they may not vote the way I would like, but they all have the right to vote. It shouldn't be the right to go through the motions and hope the ballot gets counted.

So I still feel unsettled by the experience. It's like some basic principle I've always believed in has been shaken. And it can't be justified by blaming it on human error and shrugging. There is a lot at stake in an election. Regardless of what you believe about politics and politicians, voting changes cultures and effects our lives. The people who manage elections have a responsibility the same way someone who works in an automotive factory or builds jet airplanes. There isn't room for human error. If you screw up in these situations, you affect lives.

You know, I normally try to be at least a little humorous in my rants. I try to see the absurdity in everything and relate to it appropriately. But I just don't see anything funny about this.

But I suppose there is a bright side to everything. Whatever crawled under my house and died in the crawlspace has deteriorated to the point that it no longer stinks. The flys are gone. The yellow jackets nest in my gutter has died for the winter, my house is painted, I have new windows, my new bathroom sink is almost installed (if not hooked up completely) and the roof seems to have stopped leaking since I had the new roof vents installed. And best of all, Tess loves me even though I never make my bed, can't fold laundry worth a damn and can't cook without leaving a mess.

So, to hell with my vote.

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