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    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Election Night In Denver

    Oh my God.


    I arrived at the voting center in Denver last night at 5:20pm.  The line to vote, by that time, had already stretched down the block, around the corner, and up the NEXT block.


    I despaired.


    People (I assume volunteers) were walking around the line, telling people that the line was very, very long (duh), but to NOT GET OUT OF LINE.  Everyone that was in line by 7:00pm would be able to vote.


    I said to one of that there was no way in Hell I was getting out of line.


    That was 5:30.


    At about 5:45pm, people started walking around the line, handing out water, cookies, and donuts.  Bless those that brought the pizzas.  They kept us fed.


    At about 6:15 or so, someone gave me a peanut butter sandwich.  I noticed, to my great shock, that this guy was making the sandwiches IN HIS HOUSE and bringing them out to voters.  Stunning.  Others were running down to the grocery store down the street to buy food to bring to us.  These people I cannot thank enough.


    Voters were starting to mill about aimlessly.  People were angry.  Others were saying, quite vocally, "Stay in line!  Don't leave!"  It was, quite honestly, a remarkable show of unity on behalf of my neighborhood.  I was so proud, I almost cried.


    However, at about 7, at the time that the polls were supposed to be closing, I started to lose hope.  One young woman in front of me was wearing heels.  She kept kneeling on the ground, trying to get some circulation back into her legs.  Her feet were starting to get tired.  She was losing steam, and I knew it.


    She looked at me.


    "Don't leave." I said.


    "I won't.  I'm already invested." she remarked, with some thinly veiled frustration.


    I left it at that.  We talked quite a bit more that night, but that really isn't pertinent to the story.


    Right around that same time, a volunteer came around telling us that the Election Commission was giving out tickets at the end of the line, to make sure that they knew who the last person in line should be - who could be the last voter.


    I remarked, "So.  Then, what you are saying, is that if anyone walks up to this line, and says that they want to vote, then I should close my eyes and kind of trip or something, and then open my eyes again, with them ahead of me."


    "Yes." she said.


    "Damn right I will."


    At about 7:30, one man remarked to me that he thought this vote was rigged, anyway.  We were in the process of being disenfranchised, and we all knew it.  He said that this kind of line to vote for something was a violation of our civil rights, and that this bordered on criminal.


    I know, I said, but nothing, even if someone called in a bomb threat, could get me out of this line.


    At 8:00pm came my first thoughts of filing a class action lawsuit.


    At about 8:20pm, in the middle of the Corona Presbyterian Church, I finally got my opportunity to vote.  I had already researched my votes.  I knew what I was voting for.  Voting took about five minutes.


    I walked out of the voting booth, and an election official asked me if I wanted one of those "I Voted" stickers that they hand out every election.  Hell yes, I said, but I was too tired to snatch it from her with disdain like I had planned on, for many of those minutes in that insane, god-awful, 4000 person-plus line that was still three or so city blocks long.  At the back door, where I exited, a woman saw my sticker.


    "Good for you!" she said.

    "Yeah.  Good for me." I replied.

    It was past 8:30pm.  I had voted.


    But I had to fight like Hell to do it.


    The system in Denver is broken.


    That breaks democracy everywhere.


    Tell your friends.  Tell your relatives.  Tell the world.  I know that I want the system fixed, and I'm going to do it - by complaining right here.  I live in the most population concentrated area of Colorado.  Yet, we had the LEAST amount of voting centers.  I don't want to say that it's a conspiracy.  But what else would you call it, really?


    Anonymous said...

    but the wait was worth the outcome, right? So was every cent donated to the DNC and their candidates.

    L said...

    bloggersnots. I am so not reposting that horrible typo filled comment, but suffice it to say that I had a very long wait myself, and it turns out that I didn't even have to be me to vote as me, or something. A heck-a-lot-a people waited in line for hours to vote - and they DID do just that - they waited and they voted. And most people were very civil about it all. The system is badly broken, but they have two years to fix it. And I'm voting early next time anyway.

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