‘Livin on a Prayer’

I promised myself I wouldn’t rant any more about the election. Really, this is it, and I promise to return to my regularly scheduled navelgazing after this. 🙂 Not in the mood for whining? Then move along. Honest, I won’t mind. 😉

I talked to my grandfather today (in Pennsylania — a blue state! yay!). He had assumed he was still eligible to vote, but apparently he wasn’t (he last voted four years ago — for Gore, god love him). So he went to his polling place on Tuesday and asked for a provisional ballot. The elections people said they were only giving out 12 provisional ballots per polling place, and he was too late. He was very disappointed he did not get to support Kerry. Apparently, he and a number of elderly people were turned away for the very same reason.

Argue with me all you want that we all knew this was going to be a ridiculously important election year. Point out the millions of PSAs that encouraged us to update our voter information, especially if we haven’t voted in a few years. (I do vote in the general elections; I’ve not historically educated myself by the time of the primaries.) But I guess I was kind of sad that my grandfather and several others like him went to the polls, assuming that if they’ve voted for the past 50 years, then they would be welcome to do so again this year. They assumed their votes would count for something. I had no idea about the 12-vote limit. Is it the same everywhere?

And I’m not faulting the system — I’m just hurt for him. Really, if my voter registration never expired, then I’d still be be registered 252 miles from here. Even if it expired every four years, same deal. I probably would have (prior to this election) only voted in presidential races.

But it’s difficult to explain to elderly people (who just don’t get out as often as they used to) that their vote doesn’t count if they haven’t A) voted recently or B) renewed. And to see it from his POV, he’s a World War II veteran; thus, it’s a shame to be turned away from the polls because he swore his registration was still current. This is such a misconception — thinking they’re active when they’re not.

Mom always told me to never discuss politics with anyone, but he and I have always had the best political go-’rounds. And I think he has hope for me that while I live here in D.C. that I will get involved in the process somehow. And I will, believe me. Just you wait! 😉 And part of will probably revolve around how you become inactive and what happens (*cough cough four more years of nonsense cough cough*) as a result!

I do have another political wish up my sleeve, though — I would love to see Northern Virginia grouped with D.C. when it comes to doling out electoral votes. Just sayin’. I’m too tired to come up with the full argument for it, because it ain’t ever gonna happen anyway. But it would have changed the outcome of this last election.

In any event, I am out of Bon Jovi albums to comfort me. I also had four bootlegs, and each one is screwed up in some way. What I’ve had, though, has gotten through the weekend (one of the most dismal of my young existence, by the bye). And now, I’m facing one of the hardest weeks of my life — and my strength has been waning. But my first love has inspired me to keep fighting the good fight. He just needs to make a new album to keep me afloat for a little while longer! 😉

On iTunes: Bon Jovi, “Dry County”

2 Responses to ‘Livin on a Prayer’

  1. Anonymous :

    I don’t think this was a particularly whiny post. It’s clear that there are serious imperfections in the process that allows hundreds of millions of Americans to determine the future of their country.

    On one hand, it’s impressive that elections happen at all. On the other hand, there are serious problems with the process. However, it seems to me that the logistical problems, in some form or another, have been there all along, and are just getting wider media attention now due to the existence of citizens’ media like blogging and podcasting and other media that take advantage of the easy availability of consumer production tools.

    Don’t get me wrong- these are problems that need to be fixed, and I applaud any honest efforts (such as your post) to expose them and demand a solution. What makes me uneasy, however, are people like Michael Moore who assume that problems with elections are exclusively due to Those Evil Republicans and use it as an excuse to call the results of the election into question. Dirty political tricks exist on both sides and have pretty much since the beginning of our nation, poor logistical decision-making exists in Election Commissions run by both parties, and the fact is, there’s plenty of blame to go around. (Don’t get me started on my issues with the Arlington County Election Commission.)

    That being said, it would be nice if it were easier to make changes to your voter record. With Motor Voter, it’s as easy as changing your driver’s license most of the time, but doing even that is too much of a pain in the ass- we all know about the DMV. 🙂

  2. Dawn :

    I appreciate that. 🙂

    You bring up a great point about the DMV (or INS, as we non-PC types like to call it here) — man, does that make my head throb. 😉

    Particularly in regard to older Americans, they don’t move residences much. God, the energy it takes to drag my shit from one apartment to the next is too much for my 30-year-old bones! So re-registering if they’ve lapsed requires actually knowing to call their elections officials. I mean, it’s not like our grandparents are going to log onto the Internet and do the updating! Of course, I should have thought about it on his behalf, but again, I’m a Motor Voter lover at heart.

    I guess I just see this as part of a larger issue of older Americans being ignored by the younger generations — it just seems that our current elections setup is very ageist. And that breaks my heart, because that was a generation that knew how much of a privilege it was to be able to cast their votes — nobody had to go out and mobilize them to exercise this fundamental right.

    In any event, I guess we need to mobilize our volunteers (moi?) to educate older Americans and make sure they have the tools to continue voting (and maybe by absentee ballot — because I swear there were people on life support in my polling place!) in the country they love so much.