04 November 2008


As you've probably read in my Twitter update (to the right), I voted. I was up at the crack of dawn (Romania time). Had about, oh, a gallon of coffee. Read the (online) paper -- it was so early that today's paper hadn't been updated, so I had to read yesterday's news. Now that's being up early!

I arrived at the polling place, which conveniently is across the street from my building (FTW!). I was there 10 minutes early. Huge line (as compared to four years ago, where electioneers were begging people to come in and vote....that was 10 minutes in and out). So I stand and wait. And wait. 20 minutes in, and having checked my Blackberry no less than 50 times for new messages (as if anyone is going to be sending me e-mail or texts this early in the morning), I pull out my latest edition of Crain's and read it. 10 minutes later some guy walks down to my end of the line announces that the election precinct I am in has a much shorter line towards the front. FTW! 30 minutes later (I notice that the line I previously stood in has not moved), I'm at the registration table. 10 minutes later I have my ballot in it's privacy sleeve....but, receiving that ballot came at a price listening to the "election officials" argue about who's going to write "the number" on the voting slip, and the lady who takes my ID mumbling, "I'm not a whore. You're the whore." Stay classy, Chicago!

With ballot, privacy sleeve, and acid-free, special "electronic" marker (it was a Sharpie on steroids) in hand, I am directed to the nearest voting booth. I'm in!

First vote is for the Illinois Constitution Convention. Or, the Con Con, as it's known. What?

Next vote, the big one, drum roll please, "select your choice for President and Vice President of the United States". As opposed to Mexico or Trinidad Tobago or Laos.

I reach the end of the page, and it reads "turn over to vote on next side". Next side? In front of me lay a list of no less than a hundred Illinois Circuit Court judges wishing to be retained. Seriously?

So I start "connecting the arrows". At this point, I turn the ballot on its side so I can relieve the cramp frmo connecting side to side and connect up and down. 20 minutes later, I'm done.

I place the ballot back into the privacy sleeve and bring it to the "ballot reader" and slide it in. The machine lets out an electronic yelping sound, lights are flashing, and the display reads "SPOILED". What? Spoiled? What the heck does that mean?

Apparently, I voted YES and NO for a particular Circuit Court judge. D'oh! "Can't be overridden," says the ballot reader machine election official, "You'll have to go back to table 2 and get another ballot." Which I do, and the ballot I just filled in is tattooed "SPOILED"...the official who hands me the new ballot snickers, "don't mess this one up, cuz we ain't givin' you 'nuther one! Just kiddin'!" So, I had to vote again! Chicago politics at its finest.

20 minutes later, my ballot is read correctly and I'm handed my generic "I VOTED" receipt. That's me, the guy with the spoiled ballot. * sigh *