Monday, December 03, 2012

And Then It Hit Me

It was November 6th in Korea and I was pissed.

Okay, if you read this, you know I'm sort of hyperpolitical and a bleeding-heart liberal. Maybe it was all the craziness or the women or the coffee or the wine, but fuck it, I freaking loved Barack Obama in a way I hadn't loved a president since Bill Clinton. Granted, I would not do the same level of filthy things to Barack, but the man had a plan and I liked it.

While I had been home in September I had taken the time to do a lot of things, and one of those things I knew was important was to get registered to vote absentee. Of course (because I can be that disorganized) I waited until exactly the last minute to get everything organized for the absentee. I was already registeredit was just making sure my vote got to Korea.

I left this with the Boy, who dutifully mailed it, only to inform me about two weeks later that it had been returned because I had sent it to the wrong election office. For those of you worried about voter fraud, you don't have to worry about it; they were pretty on top of it. I knew the registration got sent in and I spent a lot of time waiting hoping to get it in time for the election, but was mildly worried in the meantime.

And so I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

About a week before the day  of the election I wondered if I could use the website to check on my registration. What I discovered was that when I ran my information through the county I was registered in I kept coming up as nonexistent. This really bugged me; I was sure that when I sent in my absentee I was totally registered and all I needed to vote was to get my absentee voter information in.

So then I started digging online and discovered this.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2012/10/26/voter-purge-in-key-indiana-county-goes-overboard/

I did have to wonder. As a Latino absentee registered voter, who hadn't voted in the US in over 8 years, was I purged? This bothered me. This really bothered me.

The morning of the election I still had not received my ballot, so I began to believe that the chances were good that I was going to be disenfranchised to all hell this year. This bugged me, because I vote in Indiana and I know that the last time the election came around we managed to turn Indiana blue. I was really hoping to be a part of the same process this time. Sadness.

I went to work, I bitched to the Boy about my disenfranchisement, booked a meeting for 2:00 and then left the coffee shop and went home. As I walked in the doors I noticed there was something stuffed in my mailbox. I pulled out the something.

IT WAS MY GODDAMNED BALLOT!

I ran upstairs, dropped my bags and called my business partner.

"Hey, look I know I said 2:00 but my ballot just got here and I need to do this right now. I will call you as soon as I finish voting." I was crying I was so freaking excited. I was going to vote. I was going to count. I was going to matter.

"You sound excited. Who are you voting for?"

"Dude, like you even need to ask?"

I sat at the table and opened up the ballot and looked through all the information on what I needed to know. I noted that I could simply mark number 9 on the ballot for and basically vote a straight Democrat ticket and be done with it.

However, that would not satisfy. After waiting so long I really needed to be able to go through and check every single bubble for every single person I needed to vote for. It took me about fifteen minutes to go through, lining up names and numbers with the bubble form. I took the time and went through to fill in every circle. I needed to feel the full power of voting.

Upon finishing I asked the dog if he would like to accompany me to the post office and he agreed that he would, so we went downstairs together. I was so excited that I failed to notice that while standing and waiting to cross the street the dog had managed to wander into a part of the crosswalk and only narrowly missed being hit by a car.

"Dog, I swear if you get yourself killed while I'm on my way to vote, I will kill you."

I picked up the dog, ran across the street when the light changed, and walked in to a very confounded Korean who did not understand why there was so much writing on the outside of the envelope for the absentee ballot. I tried to explain and finally just said the only thing I could think of, "Onil. Obama. Voting." That got a smile and with a little coachingand writing the address twice (after explaining twice that I didn't have the number for the election office), we got my vote in the mail.

By 2:30 I was all wrapped up and probably the happiest voter alive. I went back home, had my meeting, and finished out my work day, but the reality was it didn't matter. I had received my eleventh-hour pardon. Nothing else mattered.

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