November 2nd, 2004


Unique Day

I voted before school this morning at the Promise City community building. I drove by, only three blocks out of my way, to see how busy it was. Only two cars out front, so I went on in. One lady was just leaving the booth. I filled in my card and went on in. We had an electronic machine, and the write in spot was covered with a black sliding plate...

No pencil. No pen. Nothing in the booth to use. I poked my head around the corner and asked.

"Didn't you put a pencil in there? I saw you carrying one around."

"I thought I did."

"Nothing's in here now."

A wheezened old man who has been present at every election I've been at since I moved here in 1976 came into the booth with me. He told me to push, this button."

"I thought that I did."

He pushes it. Nothing happens. He pushes something else. Nothing happens. I spot a big white button that wants to be pushed. Sure enough, the black cover slides up, revealing a paper part ready to write on.

He hands me a 3/4 length pencil with a wooden type screw in eye on the end of the string coming out the spot normally occupied by an eraser. I look at the plastic booth, and wonder, "Where's that supposed to attach?"

When I finish voting and push the big red button, I carefully balance the pencil on the tipped surface so it won't roll off.

We used to have two or three voting booths, but only one modern machine now. Decreased population? Or limited budget to buy the expensive machines? I don't want to be late to school, so I just leave, instead of inquiring.

Three separate times today, students asked me who I voted for... I don't remember ever having one ask before.