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Voting Day
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Okay, here's my account of fully engaging in the democratic process today:

I double check my polling place on the internet this morning, and find that they've moved, from my local library to the Village Country Club (the little club in the center of my apartment complex). All right.

I decide to go vote before work, because I think maybe it'll be more crowded after work.

The club is pretty crowded, maybe forty people there voting, and they've got about as many booths set up. I stand in line for about ten minutes, show them my card, and get my ballot.

Now, I went to bed pretty late last night. I hadn't had my morning coffee, so I'm groggy as hell (these are preemptive excuses, mind you). But like a good citizen, I read through the Sunday Dallas Morning News Voter Guide, and written down the fifteen or so offices I think I'll be voting for.

I get to my booth and take out my piece of notebook paper, then I look at the ballot. Here in Dallas we've got paper scantron ballots that you circle in with a sharpie, then feed into a ballot machine. I've heard that lots of places around the country now have computer touchscreens, but we're still old-style (no chads, though).

In my sleep-stupid haze, I assume that Governor will be the first office listed on the ballot. I start to scribble "Write-In", and then notice that no, they've put Senator at the top. Great. So I've filled in the wrong damned bubble.

I take my ballot over to the helper and say I need a new one. She says all right, but the guy next to her says, "Whoa, buddy." Apparently, they've got to fill out a form and staple it to the old ballot so that it can be destroyed. Great. So he fills out this form, then asks me why I need a new ballot. "Because I'm a moron" doesn't seem like a good response, so I say, "I made a mistake".

They give me a new ballot and I give it another try. This time I vote for Ron Kirk (D) for Senator, mostly because he slung a lot less shit than his Republican counterpart. I write in "No One" for Governor, because I'd rather have a void than either Perry or Sanchez. I vote for John Sharp (D) for Lt. Gov., and Greg Abbott for Attorney General. I vote for Pete Sessions (R) for my US Rep district. But I'm not done, no. There's Comptroller, Land Commissioner, Railroad Commissioner, and on and on. I've looked through the voter's guide and actually have votes for these people.

Then I've got about fifty more choices to make, from District Court Clerk to County Treasurer to dozens of court positions. Now I considered myself reasonably informed and prepared (despite the bonehead ballot mistake), but apparently I wasn't. I thought I was doing a decent job being reasonably informed, but I was horribly wrong.

Now don't get me wrong...democracy is great and all. But how in the hell was I supposed to be informed enough to decide all of those choices? I had about fifteen decided, but I would have had to study for a month to figure out all of them.

Ah well.

I voted.

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