Will Take A Vote On Who Was Right

, , , , | Friendly | April 13, 2019

(Our voting place has been inside an apartment complex near our house for years. I usually walk there, but one year I decide to drive. I go in the morning because I can vote before work and my shift will last past voting hours. No big deal, right? I drive up and the complex has four parking spaces for voters and all are being used. The only other parking space is handicapped. Knowing I am going to run in and out — I have a filled-out sample ballot so all I have to do is color in some circles — I park in a resident’s spot. I hate doing it but figure I’ll be really quick. I am quite literally filling in the last circle when a lady bursts into the voting place.)

Lady: “Who drives a [car meeting mine’s description]? You’re in my spot!”

Me: *fessing up* “That’s me. I’m leaving right now. Sorry, there was nowhere to park.”

(It’s lame, I know it, but I’m complying with her wants.)

Lady: “You’re in my spot! It’s not for voters!”

Me: “I know. All those spots were filled. Again, I’m sorry.”

(I try to leave to move my car, but she isn’t done.)

Lady: “You can’t park there! You—“ *directs her finger to the voting volunteers* “—need to make sure they can’t park there.”

Volunteer: “Ma’am, we do not block people from voting. It is about ten in the morning, so people are going to use those open spots. We will not stop them.”

(She had a small meltdown and I walked out to move the car. Out there I saw one vehicle parked across two open resident spaces near the spot I parked in. Apparently, she could park in two other people’s spot but I couldn’t park in one!)

Vote Of Happiness!

, , , , , | Hopeless | March 29, 2019

It is Election Day many years ago. I stop by my polling place after work to place my vote. The lines are long, it is late, I haven’t had dinner yet, and everyone looks tired and miserable. One person pokes his head out of the curtain at the voting booth, asking the volunteers for help. He then goes back behind the curtain. There is more than one booth for my district, but it’s going slow and I notice this guy has been in his booth for what seems like forever.

After a long while, he steps out. He is beaming, and he looks around at the unsmiling, waiting faces.  

“I have an announcement to make! Today, for the first time, I voted as an American citizen! Congratulate me!”

Smiles appear on everyone’s faces and congratulations pour in from all around. And, yes, everyone really does clap! I walk home much happier.

Basketball Is Of Primary Concern

, , , , | Learning | August 28, 2018

(I am an election judge during our state primaries. The polling place where I am working is in a basketball court in a local school. At one point a bunch of guys, probably in their late teens or early twenties, come in through the school-side doors, dressed up in gym wear and holding a couple basketballs.)

Guy: “So, how long are you guys going to be?”

Head Judge: “We’re here all day.”

Guy: “Well, we want to play here. Can you do this somewhere else?”

Head Judge: “Um… No.”

Guy: “Yeah… We’ll be talking to the superintendent about this. So, you should you start packing up and look for another spot!”

(As the group of players heads out:)

Head Judge: “I suppose I should put that in the incident log.”

(Those boys were never heard from again.)

She Needs A Robocop

, , , | Friendly | July 13, 2018

(My robotics team and I are advocating for a bond that would give us a new robotics lab. We are at the “botting” area to try and convince people to vote for the bond. It has been going smoothly until this encounter.  A lady is walking to the entrance.)

Me: “Hello, ma’am, could we inform you about our robotics team and why you should vote for our bond?”

Lady: “STOP HARASSING ME, or I swear to God I will call the cops, and they will kill you!”

(The lady sprints inside.)

Group: “Erm… What just happened?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

(Fifteen minutes later:)

Me: “Here she comes; don’t get close to her.”

Lady: *yelling, from a distance* “I’M CALLING THE COPS FOR ASSAULT AND HARASSMENT!”

(She never called the cops.)

Freedom Of Screech

| USA | Right | August 30, 2016

(I am working as an inspector at a polling place during the recent primary. A rule that has been in place as long as I can remember is that you cannot engage in electioneering – i.e. trying to influence others’ votes – within 100 feet of the polling place; this includes partisan apparel as well as verbal electioneering. I have already had to tell several people to take off their buttons, caps, etc. Most grumble but comply.)

Me: “Sir, you need to turn that shirt inside out.”

Man: “What? Why?”

Me: “Because it advertises a candidate, so it’s considered electioneering.”

Man: “You’re suppressing my freedom of speech!”

Me: *using the broken record technique* “No, it’s considered electioneering. There’s a restroom in the building where you can turn it inside out.”

Man: “Okay, but I want you to show me where it’s written I have to do that!”

(He’s on the roster and registered with a party, so none of that is an issue, and he gets his ballot and goes to vote. This gives me time to look through the Poll Worker Guide, where it says exactly what constitutes electioneering, and – surprise, surprise! – it says just what I told him, and then some. When he finishes voting, I show him the passage and, as requested, read it out to him word for word.)

Man: “I want to file a complaint! What’s your name?!”

(I hand him a card with the number of the Elections Office, upon which I write my name, position, the name of the polling place, and its ID number.)

Man: “So you’re telling me I can’t show my support for [Candidate]?”

Me: “You can, but it has to be at least 100 feet away from the polling place. Once you get there, you can turn your shirt back out.”

Man: “And you’re telling me that’s not suppressing my freedom of speech?!”

Me: *again* “No, it’s considered electioneering and it’s not allowed within 100 feet of the polling place.”

Man: *huffily* “Well, I bet if I asked around, people would say it was an issue of freedom of speech!” *storms out*

(I called the elections office and told them what happened, and they told me I was 100% in the right. No idea if he ever called and lodged that complaint, but if he did they probably told him the same thing.)

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