Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Nothing book-related tonight, sorry. I'm still a little riled about something that happened at the polls yesterday.

One of our regulars came in to vote in the late afternoon, but her name, for a reason we couldn't imagine, had been removed from the poll books. She hadn't moved, she hadn't missed a few elections which would have bumped her over into the inactive book, she hadn't done anything to warrant disappearing completely from the books. It was very odd.

Now we could have just had her vote a provisional ballot and left it to the folks at the board of elections to determine what had happened and whether her ballot would count; she could have called in a few days to find out if it had. Instead our chief judge called the BOE and kept asking to speak to someone higher up the chain until she found out the reason why this regular voter had been purged:

She'd stopped getting mail at her house and had switched to a post office box four or five years ago. When the mail the BOE sent her kept coming back, they'd removed her from the books. Don't bother voting her provisionally, our judge was told; we won't count it. She'll have to reregister.

Of course the woman had no idea the BOE had been trying to get in touch with her--no one I know could tell you how often new voter registration cards are mailed to established voters; we don't need to show them to vote anyway.

Instead of putting a note to check her address in our poll books, she's denied the right to vote.

That stinks, no matter how gracious she was about it all.

4 comments:

Gentle Reader said...

That happened to my husband, too. He showed up at the polls, and he wasn't in the book, though we'd been voting in the same spot for years. I was listed, and I live at the same address. He voted provisionally, and re-registered. When it came to the next election, he still wasn't there. We haven't figured out what to do about it :(

SFP said...

I would have him register again, put a note on the calendar to call the BOE in six or seven weeks if he hasn't received a registration card in the meantime, and harass the living daylights out of them from that point on--weekly phone calls, registered letters, whatever it takes.

There was something similar going on with a husband and wife at our precinct. She came in to vote, remembered where and when she'd registered, and she wasn't in the books. She spotted her husband's name in the book, though, even though he'd told her he'd never registered (maybe he registered at the DMV and had forgotten he'd done so).

stefanie said...

That really stinks. Good thing it was an off-year election (not that these aren't important too!) or I would have been really mad if I were her.

Dorothy W. said...

I'd be riled up about that too -- very frustrating. Our election system has so many flaws.