Tuesday, November 04, 2008

When Is a Vote Not a Vote?

So I went to go vote today and was told by the volunteers at my polling station that my names weren't on the roll. This was my first election since I registered in New York State. Up until now I'd always voted absentee from my home state of South Carolina. I had checked repeatedly on the New York Board of Elections website to see if my registration had been added and I even attempted to call to talk to a representative there last week to see what the hold up was, as I'd sent in my registration weeks before the deadline. I spent 30 minutes on hold on my cellphone before I gave up.

I went to the polling station with an ungodly amount of ID on hand. I had my Driver's License, my passport, a recent utility bill with my name and address clearly on it. And because of the Board of Elections failure to post my registration to their rolls I had to cast a provisional ballot. Assuming the Board of Elections can eventually verify that they received my registration... it will be counted.

According to one commentator on The NY Times Cityroom blog:

 "People that registered on time, but at the last minute (myself), were not put into the system. There are approximately 200,000 people this happened to according to the NYC board of elections representative i spoke to. I called on friday to check on the status of my registration and was told that “due to the backlog, they wouldn’t have time to enter everyone in the system”. When i asked the extent of the problem, i was told 200,000 people. I don’t understand 1) how this could happen and 2) how the NYT could not think this warrented a story. I called the city room at the New York Times on Friday to report this problem. The editor(s) didn’t think it warranted a call back nor a story. In short, i was forced to fill out a provisional ballot."

It's amazingly disappointing that after taking the time to register in New York because it felt important to me to vote in person for this election, my vote may not count at all.  I feel like I did my civic duty today but sadly I don't feel like I voted. 

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

i feel you. i cast a provisional ballot, too. and i got my voter registration papers in the mail two weeks ago. but bc i'm new-ish to the state, they didn't have my name on the new list. lame!