The 6 Hour Voting Experience

I vote every year.  No matter what is on the ballot - county officers, Senate and The House, or President.  I always vote. Grace is 8 years old and has never missed a year to see her Mom and Dad vote.  It's important to us that our children see the American process at work and understand voting is her right and duty.

Today was no different.  We woke up the kids and heading to the polls as soon as they opened (6am in Virginia).  Bundled up, we got to the polls and stood in line for at least an hour.  Grace and Will ran around the gym we were lined up in.  The Hubby and I chatted with the people around us - including the doctor who delivered Will.   At one point, I decided to cut over to the MUCH shorter paper ballot line with the kids - they were getting restless and I still needed to get them home and to their various activities for the day. 

And that's when the trouble started.  My name was not on the voting rolls.  The hubby was there.  Same address for 9 years.  Haven't changed anything about my voter registration in 9 years but all of the sudden, my name is gone. 

I was told, after 45 minutes of phone calls and searches for my name, that I am not a citizen.  Apparently, I had sent a response letter to a jury information request and stated I was no longer a US citizen.  WHAT!?!?!?!  That is something I would NEVER do.  The cheif of the polling place handed me a new registration form and said "Sorry.  You are not eligible to vote.  You can re-register and vote next time.".  My head was spinning but I remember clearly saying to him: "No, you are wrong.  I WILL vote for my President today.  What is the address of the Election Office?".

An hour later, I gathered up all those important papers -- birth certificate, drivers license, social security card, Passport -- and headed to the government center in town.  Lucky for me, the person in charge of those jury letters was in the office and was able to reverse the problem and reinstate me as a citizen.  But only after I proved my citizenship.  Ironically, my birth certificate is from the exact same county that I was denied voting in today. 

Next stop was back to the polling place..........to stand in line again for an hour.  And then 37 minutes of sitting with the cheif election official again calling the Office to confirm that I had infact been re-certified as a citizen and that I was Jaime and that I did actually live in the house I have lived in for 9 years. 

By the end of the whole ordeal, the election officials at my polling place asked me to volunteer next year at the polls to troubleshoot issues -- they did not even know someone could be reinstated in a day. 

And most importantly, I voted.  I have never been so happy to put a sticker on my jacket.


laura said...

oh-my-freaking-goodness! i was hoping there would be a story....

way to stand up for your rights, my friend.

and, for the record, i totally know you were smuggled across the border! ;)

Jentifur said...

Holy moly! OMG! I cannot believe you had to go through that!!! And that is amazing that you could get it fixed in one day. This is so ridiculous. Good thing you didn't leave the country... they might not have let you back in!