Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why My Vote for Ron Paul Didn't Count

posted under , , , , by Bloody Bonnie |
Last summer after I moved to New York City after graduating from college. Being a socially and politically conscience gal, I started looking into registering to vote in New York when the time of the general election rolled around. What I found was a tangled web of bureaucracy – apparently “New York has a rule that you can only change your party affiliation once per year, and it goes into "affect one week after the general election." So I chose to put off registering until I had decided who I would support in the February presidential primary.

When primary season came around, I chose my candidate and decided to once again brave the bureaucracy of the New York City Board of Elections. I printed off my registration form and mailed it in a good week and a half before the cutoff date. Two weeks later, I received a letter from the Board of Elections stating that my registration was damaged in the mail and that I would have to resubmit it. It seemed mighty strange to me that my name and mailing address were somehow decipherable on my 'damaged' form. In fact, they had photocopied my form and included it with the letter – and the only thing that appeared damaged was my signature.

Obviously I was concerned that since I would be resubmitting my registration after the cutoff date, I wouldn't be registered in time to vote in the primary. Worried, I called up the Board of Elections and spoke with a woman who reassured me that my information was on record. All I needed to do was resubmit my form and my registration would be complete, counted as being on time, and I could vote in the primary.

So I sent in my form and on the day of the primary I went to vote. Oddly enough, when I got there, the woman working the booth told me they had no record of my registration. Patiently holding back my anger, I explained my situation to her and her boss. Her boss told me that most likely the paper work hadn't cleared...I believe his words were 'I wouldn't put anything past the Board of Elections.' He told me not to worry, that I could vote via affidavit and everything would be fine. Pleased at such a simple resolution, I voted and left feeling I had done my patriotic duty.

Last week, 3 WEEKS AFTER the primary election, I received yet another letter from the New York Board of Elections. This one informed me that my “recent vote via affidavit had not counted in the recent election” because I had “failed to register before the cutoff date.” Needless to say, I am livid – particularly because there is absolutely nothing I can do about this. Sure I could call the Board of Elections and yell as some underpaid civil servant, but that wouldn't accomplish a damn thing.

Just to be clear, I'm not trying to suggest that my vote was stolen because there's some kind of conspiracy against Ron Paul. I am simply using my personal experience to point out the fact that our electoral process is so backed up with bureaucratic BS that it is no longer a democracy. Hell, just look at the shenanigans in Michigan and Florida. Those poor folks knew going in that their votes would not be counted.

Our freedom is quickly being digested by a bureaucratic monster.

(As an aside, if you haven't seen Brazil, get it now. Robert DeNiro is a renegade plumber who is destroyed by paperwork. Wacky stuff)

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