My Annual Complaint

by Fred Schwarz

My annual complaint is that our most important right, the right to vote, depends upon the dedication and vigilance of poll workers who were too dull to get a job at Kmart. They seem honest and well-meant, and are usually polite, but not exactly quick thinkers. When I arrived at my polling place, I was directed to a man who barely spoke English and spent several minutes attempting to look up my election district (which I already knew). Then I went through my yearly ordeal of making repeated attempts to explain how my last name is spelled, even though I had written it out on a card in advance.

Nobody told me that the fancy new New York State optical-scan ballot continued on the back of the sheet; if I hadn’t happened to know this, I would have missed the chance to vote on a proposition that purports to limit politicians’ terms but exempts current officeholders, as well as a dog’s breakfast of campaign regulations that I could not focus on at 7:00 a.m. and so voted No on from general principles. And finally, when I fed the fancy new ballot into the fancy new scanner, an error message came up. The poll worker said, “Don’t worry, your vote’s been counted.” Okay . . .

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