And We Let These People Vote…

, , , | Right | October 13, 2020

I work in a town department that handles elections. Due to the current global health situation, our offices have been closed to the public. Our dropbox has been getting a lot more use lately. A customer calls one day nearing an election.

Me: “[Department], can I help you?”

Customer: “I still didn’t get my ballot!”

Me: “Okay, I can look that up for you. What is your name and address?”

The customer answers and I look up his information.

Me: “Hmm… Okay, we don’t seem to have an application on file. Did you apply for a ballot to get mailed to you?”

Customer: “Of course I did! That’s why I’m calling!”

I check the computer again. I check the folder with completed vote-by-mail applications, the folder with uncompleted vote-by-mail applications — anywhere I can think of.

Me: “Okay, well, I don’t see anything here. The deadline to request a ballot was two days ago. Unfortunately, if I don’t have an application, I can’t send you a ballot. We still have early voting in person on [list of dates and times], or you could come on election day from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.”

Customer: “I don’t want to vote in person! That’s why I applied to vote by mail! I put the application in the dropbox!”

Me: “I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened to it. We check the box multiple times a day, and I don’t have your application here.”

Customer: “Well, that’s a bit surprising, wouldn’t you think? I dropped it off in person, and you don’t have it? Who’s to say if I drop it off again you won’t just throw it away?”

Me: “I assure you, we do not throw applications away. If we got it, we would have processed it the day we received it.”

Customer: “Fine. I guess I’ll fill it out again. You better not lose it this time! I want to vote in the next election by mail, too!”

Me: “Okay. The deadline for those applications is [date and time].”

Customer: “I’M DOING IT NOW!” *click*

I don’t think anything of it. Cut to a week and a half later. I’m processing vote-by-mail applications and voter registrations that came in the mail and through the dropbox. I notice the name on one of the voter registrations sounds familiar. I go to register the voter and find out he is already registered. Everything on the form is the same as what’s in the computer. No biggie. Sometimes people forget they are already registered or want to double-check. I mark it as a duplicate and put it in the folder for completed voter registrations.

About ten minutes later, my mind comes back to that name. I take out the folder for completed voter registrations, start flipping through, and find his registration not once, but twice, the earlier date being around the time that he called before. I give him a call.

Customer: “Hello?”

Me: “Hi, is this [Customer]?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name] with the [Town] [Department]. I think we spoke not too long ago about a vote-by-mail application?”

Customer: “Yeah! You lost it! Did you lose my other one, too?”

Me: “No, but I found the problem. You keep filling out voter registrations. These forms ensure you are a voter in town. You need to fill out a vote-by-mail application.”

Customer: “I filled out the form twice! I want you to mail me my ballot!”

Me: “Right, but you are filling out the wrong form. You are filling out the application that registers you as a voter. You need to fill out the application that requests a ballot be mailed to you.”

Customer: “I did that already! Twice!”

Me: “I have the forms here, and they are not the correct ones.”

Customer: “Fine! Send it to me!”

I want to get off the phone quickly.

Me: “Okay, I’ll do that.”

Customer: “YOU’D BETTER NOT LOSE THIS ONE!” *click*

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