Wednesday, February 15, 2012 / 2:56 pm
Venting My Spleen: Election Day
My adventure in voting after a long, long day.
I had worked all day (ten hours, to be exact) and was tired, hungry, and crabby.
The drive home down Killer Highway 177 was long. I couldn't wait to see my happy dogs and get something in my starving self.
But as I was nearing my turnoff I realized that it was election day. There was a County Commissioner race and a School Board race.
I have never missed an election but as I pulled into my driveway I actually considered skipping this one. I climbed out of my car, dogs hopping happily all around me, and walked into the house.
And knew I wasn't going to skip this one either.
So I climbed back into my car and headed back to Tecumseh. I drove up to the bank that had always been my polling place and saw that it was dark. No “Vote Here” sign on the door, which was locked. I watched the janitor sweeping inside.
A guy my age had pulled up to the outdoor ATM so I strode over to his pickup and tapped on his window, which he rolled down, and asked him if he knew where the new polling place was.
He didn't because, he said, he hadn't voted for a couple of years. But he called his wife, who told him she thought it was at the First Baptist Church on Broadway. So I thanked him (and mentally thanked his wife,) hopped back in my car and drove over there.
Dark. Locked. Grrrrrrr.
I drove all the way home again, telling myself that I had tried to vote, so I had an excuse.
But I wasn't home for two minutes before I picked up the phone and called the Pottawatomie County Election Board.
An older woman answered. I was in a snit by now and demanded to know why I hadn't been told where my new polling place was.
She totally ignored my question and asked my name. And how to spell it. EIGHT times. And then called me Diana. And then asked for my address. And then asked for it another three times.
Now I was steaming and said, “You're not going to answer my question, are you?”
She replied that I had been sent a new voter registration card.
No, I hadn't. And I pay close attention to my mail.
She finally told me that I was to go to 914 E. Walnut Street in Tecumseh to the First Methodist Church.
So I hopped back into my car and drove back to Tecumseh. As I drove down Walnut, the only church I could see was the Highland First Christian Church and it was on the wrong side of the street to be 914.
So I drove ALL the way down Walnut looking for some kind of address number somewhere but not one street sign had a number on it, nor did any house, NOR did any business.
So I stopped at the Love's gas station and minimart and asked Linda if she knew where the First Methodist Church at 914 E. Walnut was.
Our conversation included the fact that there were no numbers anywhere on any of the streets. She laughed and held up a cash register receipt and said the only reason she knew her store was at 100 E. Walnut was because she saw it on the receipt.
She made me laugh. Which was good.
Then she called Randy, the Tecumseh cop, who, she said, was a character and would escort me to the proper polling place.
So I waited outside for Randy who never came. But another cop showed up and I asked him where my polling place was and he said I should go to City Hall and they could tell me because there was a polling place there.
So I climbed into my car, tired and hungry and crabby and drove over to the City Hall and walked inside where some polling place volunteers smilingly told me there WAS no First Methodist Church on E. Walnut but that the Highland First Christian Church was out there and they were the only other Tecumseh polling place. (We have two, it turns out.)
So I threw my poor old body into my car and drove down E. Walnut to the Highland First Christian Church which was completely dark and had no cars in the parking lot. But I was already there so I drove around to the back, just because, and there were lights on! And cars! And people!
And I pulled up at 6:55 pm (the polling places close at 7:00 pm) and stood in the doorway with a very ugly expression on my face and the polling place volunteer smiled a sweet smile and told me EVERYONE HAD TROUBLE FINDING THE PLACE, and she patted my back and handed me my ballots AFTER I showed my ID because Oklahoma had just passed the “must show your valid picture ID to vote” law (to dissuade the hordes of cheaters who vote without proper credentials, but mostly the elderly, poor, and disenfranchised who vote Democrat) and I voted for Eddie Stackhouse, who was running for Pottawatomie County District #3 for County Commissioner because he's the Democrat and he had just laid down beyoooootiful gravel and asphalt on my little country road, the first time EVER, all my neighbors said, and they've been living here for over 20 years.
And then I noticed the polling volunteer's vest was made by Patagonia and told her she had a nice vest from a great company and she said her daughter had sent it to her and that it was light and comfortable.
And I drove home, and waded through the jumping dogs, and put on my pajamas and made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and crawled into bed.
But I am still mad.