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Voting on November 6

November 5, 2012

I knew I would have to be away from home on election day, so I voted absentee three weeks ago.  I had never voted absentee before and had misgivings about doing that because of the rampant fraud involving absentee ballots in South Florida and because I have always liked the experience of actually going to the polls on election day.

But after seeing the stories on television and the Internet about the outrageously long lines at the early voting sites in Miami and elsewhere, I have to say—a little guiltily, perhaps—that I’m glad I took the absentee option.  Honestly, I don’t know if I would have the sitzfleisch to wait in line for four or five or nine (!) hours in order to vote.

Perhaps the situation tomorrow will be a little better since there will be many more polling stations open, but I fear that it will be just as bad on election day.  Ever since I saw what the ballot looked like—all ten pages in Miami-Dade—it seemed obvious that we were in for yet another FUBAR Florida election.  I had done considerable homework to figure out what the proposed constitutional amendments and local questions and other semi-obscure issues really meant, and it still took me upwards of 20-25 minutes to make sure that I had completed the ballot as I intended.  I can only imagine how long a naïve voter might ponder over this monstrous ballot if presented with it for the first time.

I can’t help thinking that this is by design.  First, sneak a dozen politically loaded (and mostly meritless) amendments (often obscurely or misleadingly worded—my “favorite” is the “Religious Freedom” amendment) past voters who very likely have no idea what they’re actually voting on and therefore would be inclined to check the “Yes” oval.  Second, make the very act of voting so onerous that people would be tempted just to say “Fuck it” and go home or back to work without casting a ballot.  Tedium may be the ultimate form of voter suppression.

I wish I thought that the shameless office holders who created this situation would suffer from public outrage for making the most basic civic duty an exercise in tenacity and boredom.  But that probably won’t happen.

Instead, I just hope that voters will stick it out and make simply voting an act of defiance of the cynicism and mendacity of the people who are now running this state.

Yeah, I know…easy for me to say, since I’m not standing in line.

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