This morning I cast my vote for Barack Obama for President of the United States. It’s a beautiful fall day in Louisiana with a steady stream of locals at our small precinct located at the elementary school a block away from home. I let my 7 yr old push the buttons that I told him to. The two most significant buttons were Obama and Vote. I’ll remind him of that several years from now.
A couple years ago Louisiana upgraded to electronic voting machines which have seemed to work just fine in previous elections. At our precincts a sample ballot, as it appears on the machine, is posted outside and in several places inside the school. We had to wait in line no more than 5 minutes. A poll worker checks your driver’s license and looks your name up in the roll book. You sign in a blank next to your name. She initials next to your signature and spells your name out to two other poll workers who are handwriting two separate lists of voters. This insures you don’t vote twice, which wasn’t always the case in our colorful Louisiana history. My sister-in-law had to go to two different precincts to vote this morning because she had moved to a different parish (county) but was able to vote nonetheless. Other than that, I’ve heard of no problems at the polls.
Rachel Maddow on MSNBC said the other night that ridiculously long lines at polling places is a new kind of poll tax. I think she’s right. An hour is understandable in heavily populated areas. Never before in history have so many people voted in any election on a given day ever. There’s bound to be a wait, but six hours is absurd. How can people work and vote in those conditions? If 2000 focused the nation on hanging chads, 2008 should focus the nation on efficiency and competency at the polls. Sadly, the longest lines and the oldest voting machines are almost always found in the poorer black communities. That is inexcusable. I hope and am confident despite the outcome of today’s election that Democrats in Congress will hold hearings and hopefully press hard to resolve this problem for good.
If you haven’t voted yet, you still have time, even if you are voting for McCain. Good luck, America.