So I got up at 5:30 this morning so I could make it to the polls and still get to work on time.
Have I ever mentioned that I'm not a morning person? But I was absolutely dedicated to making my vote count, and if this is what I had to do to make sure I voted, then I would do it.
Part of the reason I got up so early is because I didn't know what to expect at our new polling location. At our old location it wasn't a problem to get in and out quickly, but I wanted to give myself plenty of time just in case.
As I approached the location (a fire station) I realized that it was a good thing I arrived early.
The line was already around the building, and there was no place to park. People were parking on the grass, in the street - anywhere there was space.
I had to circle the building before returning to my starting point and parking in the grass. I got in line and realized that, out of all the people in line at that moment, I happened to have gotten in line behind a co-worker. What are the odds?
Jeanne and I began chatting and I found out that this is the first year voting has taken place at the fire station. Until now it's been at the high school. This, along with a very interesting election and huge voter turnout, only compounded a bigger problem: a complete lack of signage.
After standing in line for a few minutes, someone mentioned that there were TWO lines. One for precinct (or district or whatever) 73 and one for 74.
Which one was I? I had no clue.
I also had no clue which line I was standing in. Was I in 73? Or 74? Surely there should be some signs... or someone to give us some information...
The good news is that I had grabbed my voter registration confirmation thing-a-ma-jig on my way out the door. (It was on the fridge, next to the coffee pot. If it was anywhere else, I'm sure I would have not thought to bring it.)
I looked at it and saw that I was 74. First problem solved.
Then I heard someone say we were in the line for 73. Of course.
I left my line and walked around the building, where I inadvertently walked through a flower bed and I think I stepped on a plant of some sort. I got to the end of the flower bed, was met with a small brick wall, and had to squeeze past some people waiting in line in order to avoid an awkward step/jump over the wall.
(Jackie, I thought of you.)
The people that I squeezed past looked a little annoyed. I tried to ignore them.
Immediately after I got past the annoyed people, I saw the signs on the door and realized that I had, in fact, been in the 74 line to begin with. Of course.
So, back I went. The annoyed people were still annoyed, and I still had to cut through the flower bed, and I think I stepped on the plant for a second time, despite my care to NOT step on it.
(Hey - it was 6:20 a.m., it was dark, and I hadn't had a full cup of coffee yet.)
I once again joined Jeanne and passed the word on that we were in the 74 line. She became concerned that she might be in the wrong line. We discussed this with the people around us, and no one seemed to know if they were 73 or 74.
I mean, really, who remembers this stuff from year to year? I had a hard enough time trying to research who all was running for office in my area and figuring out who I needed to read up on in order to make an informed vote.
I also have a hard enough time remembering all of my pin numbers, computer passwords, id numbers, and even my address and phone number, for Pete's sake.
Anyway, everyone decided to stay in the 74 line, despite their uncertainty. We figured that everyone else probably had questions about this and it would get sorted out once we got inside.
Or maybe there would be some sort of map as we got closer to the door that would help everyone know if they were a 73 or a 74.
Or, maybe that would make too much sense, and instead, maybe there only would be a few small "73" and "74" signs hidden in the grass, and no other signs whatsoever.
Once we got inside the doors and had our ID's checked, we proceeded to the next table where the volunteers had the incredibly big book of names. This was the moment of truth for Jeanne. Would her name appear in the book?
The suspense. You could have cut it with a knife.
(Well, not really. But I thought I'd throw a little drama into the mix.)
Jeanne's name was not in the book. It wasn't terribly tragic, because she just had to walk to the other side of the room and check in at the 73 table. Crisis averted.
However, when we had arrived inside, one of the volunteers at the table with the giant book of names said, "WHY are there so many people in the WRONG LINE?"
Several people commented that it was due to the non-existent signs.
While I sat at the table, filling out my ballot, this same volunteer carried on a conversation with herself. Apparently, she is hard of hearing because she had to talk very LOUDLY.
"Who is sorting these people outside???"
"This is the 15th person in a row that has come to the WRONG TABLE!"
"Who is supposed to be sorting these people??"
"Whoever is sorting these people is not doing a very good job."
"WHO IS SUPPOSED TO BE SORTING EVERYONE BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT DOING THEIR JOB."
Oh my word. It took everything in my power to not turn around and say, "Lady, considering the fact that YOU are the one with the giant book of names, it seems that YOU are the designated sorter. So get over it!!"
Despite the disgruntled-with-the-sorting lady, I fulfilled my civic duty.
And despite my whining about it, the whole ordeal wasn't as bad as what it could have been.
(At least the right information was printed on my card.)
Now I'm just sitting back, waiting for the results...