Tuesday, January 29, 2008

FUBAR Democracy

     So it's now about ten minutes to eight in the AM. I've been awake for about twenty-five hours or so, spent my usual graveyard shift telling drunken bums and drunken illegal immigrants that I will not sell them any more alcohol, and then I go to vote. The only good thing is that my polling place is in the assisted-living joint next door, so I only had to walk about a hundred yards or so and the weather here in Satan's Outhouse, Fla. was uncommonly nice and cool. Once I walked in the door, however things kinda went downhill. But not too much:

  1. There wasn't anybody in line, so I guess that was a good thing.
  2. When the clerk flipped open the roll book, I wasn't listed. Again. They did this to me back in '06.
  3. "They" would be the wonderful Palm Beach County Board of Elections. For those of you who don't remember, these are the same wonderful people who brought us the saga of the hanging chad, so I wasn't too terribly surprised that they'd screwed up again.
  4. Incidentally, when that happened I was still living near my ancestral home in Pennsylvania, where we know how to punch a hole in a damn piece of paper. Therefore, I abjectly refuse to believe that a bunch of blue-rinse geriatric wide-loads who can handily manage a dozen or more bingo cards can't manage to figure out how to not vote for Pat Buchanan. "The ballot was too confusing." Puh-lease.
  5. So I'm not in the book. Again.
  6. Out comes the big yellow "Voter SNAFU" form. Again.
  7. I fill out the change-of-address section. Again.
  8. I sign the form twice, thus affirming upon penalty of what-I-didn't-bother-to-read that this is my current and correct address and that I am eligible to vote in this particular precinct in Palm Beach County. Again.
  9. I give the form and my driver's license to the chief precinct clerk. Again.
  10. Lisa (the chief clerk) calls the County Election Board SNAFU Central Headquarters (SNAFU HQ) on the specially provided cell phone. Again.
  11. She gets Shaniqua on the line. Or maybe it was Shenekia; I really don't know. I do know it took them more than a minute to exchange names and confirm their correct spellings. Again.
  12. Shaniqua yammers on about something or other for another two minutes. Perhaps she was talking to someone else there at SNAFU Central. Whatever it was, I'm pretty sure it had nothing to do with recording my correct [CENSORED] address because Lisa complained about it.
  13. When Shaniqua finally got down to business, Lisa tilted her head to the side, trying to peer through her cockeyed bifocals to read my driver's license and relay the information to SNAFU HQ.
  14. While I straightened her glasses, I gave all the pertinent information to Lisa, who relayed it to Shaniqua at SNAFU Central HQ, where I'm quite certain it will be lost. Again.
  15. Lisa approved my registration status, thanked me for fixing her glasses and then, after checking the fit proceeded to tear them from her face with one hand, thus re-bending the frames I'd just fixed.
  16. I don't know why I feel the need to fix things. It's a compulsion, really. If something's broken, I'll tear it apart and figure out how to fix it. If you think this makes me handy to have around be aware of the following fact: I have vacuumed my apartment exactly two times since I finally bought a vacuum cleaner last September.
  17. The second time was this past Saturday.
  18. Lisa's a blonde, and I'm quite certain she's a natural one, at that. Her particular shade, however, appeared to have come from a salon.
  19. I went back to the sign-in line, which by now had a whole three people waiting.
  20. When I got back to the head of the line, I had to wait while the clerk (a different blonde) filled out another form for me to sign. Again.
  21. I got the little electronic key card, went to the stupid electronic voting machine, voted for Fred Thompson (yes, I know he dropped out), voted against the horribly-worded and pert-near worthless property tax amendment, gave the card back to the clerk, and left. This took approximately one minute.
  22. The useless address-change exercise took approximately twenty minutes. Again.
I'll be calling SNAFU Central HQ sometime next week to check and make sure that they still have my old address on file so I can be assured that, come November, I can go through this yet again. I wouldn't want to fuck up the democratic process, now would I?