My husband wanted to stay with Koko while I went in to vote and he elected me to be the first to go in... (A young man canvassing the neighborhood on Saturday for the Democrat in our voting District suggested that we Early Vote.)
What a marked difference this time around from previous past experiences, just to go in to a polling place to cast our votes.
Prior to the year 2000, the first year in which the Bushes put in full play their blueprint for stealing votes, it was usually an effortless affair to go in and vote, except for some long lines at the polling place, you would, then, show your voting card to the poll worker, he or she would take you to the registration table where the worker would check your voting card against her book to make sure you were a registered voter and give you your ballot. Another poll worker would then walk you to the punch card machine, the worker would sometimes insert the card for you in to that punch card machine, and you would punch the card 'till you completed your last little punch hole and had voted your best for whoever you believed would best represent you.
All of that ended with Teresa LePore, the Butterfly Ballot in Palm Beach County and the Bush Election 2000 Steal... Since then, the Bushes have perfected their blueprint for stealing elections and voting is no longer the free and freedom producing experience that it used to be.
Yesterday's voting experience for me resembled more that of Election Day in any Police State than any Election Day I can previously recall here in these United States.
When we got to the Early Voting place, there were people already lined up waiting to vote. Those people who had, already, as a first step to go in to vote, shown their photo IDs, to the man sitting at the table in the hallway of the voting place.
Next came a second check point.
While standing in line when a uniformed security guard of Haitian origin again asked to see my Drivers License or other Photo ID and instructed me (and other voters) that, "if you have any cell phones those should be turned off or 'silenced'".
He meant "muted" I am sure-but what an ironic choice of words to be used by a uniformed security guard, in what already had the full specter of election day in any garden variety police state. It just tended to add more to the air of 'your votes will be silenced by the Bush Family,' that is floating throug this election cycle.
The third check point came once you stepped in to the room where they had the voting machines.
In step 1 inside this room, you had to again give your Photo ID (Drives License) to one of the three women sitting at the head table in the room.
In step 2 they scanned your Drivers License into some computerized, electronic machine in front of them, then they waited for the voter's information to show up on the machine,(information which, in my case, the worker seemed to have some trouble pulling up, though, finally, some information did come up which caused her to confer in whispers with the second woman sitting next to her,) then she turned to me and asked for my address in order to verify that the information on her machine was correct.
Step 3 consisted of having me sign a printed receipt which looked like the receipt for groceries you get at any grocery store checkout counter.
In step 4. I had to take the receipt to yet another person who walked with me to a voting machine, then punched some information from the receipt into the machine before allowing me to pull up any screen with the voting ballot on it, and then told me the number for my precinct-at which point I said, "What? Wait a minute! That is not the precinct number that is on my voting card. Why is this machine changing my precinct number? This is how George Bush, Brenda Snipes and all the rest steal elections. They have machines that change anything from precincts, to votes, to vote counting and I want to know, before I vote, why this machine has changed my precinct number."
She took me back to the table at the entrance and told the ladies sitting there that the precinct in my voting card and the precinct in the machine were different. One of the ladies there said to the other, "that is what I was trying to tell you." Then that lady told me, "that is your precinct. You just have to get a new voting card"-to which I responded, "Why? " She said something about address change (and quite frankly by that time I was seeing green, or yellow, or whatever color. I had not changed my address, and I had lost any sense of calmness and they knew it).
I said, "How can you say anything about addresses when, as you can see, the address in my drivers license and the address on my voters registration card and the address where I physically live are all one and the same." At this point her explanations made absolutely no sense at all. I was boiling mad and I said loud and clear for all present in that room to hear again, "this is how George Bush and this Supervisor of Elections steal votes. They have the machines change whatever the machines want to change, so they can go ahead and discount whatever votes they want to, or they add whatever votes they want to the Republican side. And then, when caught, Brenda Snipes is all apologies, saying 'O, the machine had the hiccups. Or, the machind had a glitch.' I am not voting here and I am not voting again until someone returns back to pencil and paper voting, to true democracy and to true vote counting."
With that I stormed out of the room, not, however, before they said I could not bring with me the receipt I had signed for them in the beginning--their proof that I had been there to vote.
When I got home I called the office of the candidate I had intended to vote for, and again got into an altercation with the person on the phone because she said, "Why did you walk out? You should have voted!" Again, I explained the precinct number switch from my voter's registration card to the one on the machine. A switch I did not understand and no one had explained to me and she couldn't either, though insisted on her point that I should have voted anyway.
She added that she would like to help me but that I was not giving her anything to help me with, because she could not move one single lawyer in this candidate's team if the people at the Early Voting place had not prevented me from voting.
I repeated that I was the one who walked out when I noticed the change in the precinct number between what their machines were telling them and what my card said and that I could not tell her that they had prevented me from voting, to which she repeated that I should have gone ahead and voted.
To this, I said, "I am not going to give my vote to any machine that is going to alter anything about my vote and end up discarding it, changing it, or giving it to the wrong party and I don't know what that precinct disparity means." We went at it for a while until finally I said, "I am sick and tired of this sham of a democracy which, at this point, you are participating in. I am not so going to cast a vote that I don't know who is going to go to or what party will benefit from it. Now I need to hang up. Goodbye."
After a while she called to tell me that they had talked to the Assistant Supervisor of Elections. That she had found out that the precinct reflected on the machines was the correct one because the precint number had changed when the neighborhood I live in had become incorporated into XXXX. (This had been an unincorporated neighborhood right up to the last election cycle).
I raised a stink only to have the Supervisor of Elections and her team be correct all along. Yet no one had enough information to come up with the correct answer to my question at the beginning of this entire tiring journey. It was very tiring for me to have to stick up for my guns, as they say, especially since I learned to do this late in my life.
I am glad it moved someone to get the right answer to my question.
I am also glad to have had the opportunity to speak up right there at the voting precinct about George Bush's vote stealing machines and the work of the supervisor of elections who works for the Bushes to see that the elections are delivered to them.
And, in the case of the people I was intending to vote for, I am glad I had the opportunity to tell them, "How can you talk about taking back democracy when none of you has once addressed the issue of voting machine fraud?"
I will take myself to the voting booth again before Early Vote ends prior to Election Day.
I've been told that because I have already signed a receipt acknowledging that I presented myself to an early voting place, I will probably not be allowed to vote even when I actually did not get to vote that day.
I will explain the situation to anyone at any voting place who refuses me the right to vote and I will again call the people I intend to vote for if any issues come up during this second try at my voting.
I want to vote but I want my vote to count the way I intend for it to count.
What is a next, purple fingerprint for the right to vote?