Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Elections Are Like Memorial Day...

...You've Known for Four Years that It was Coming, So You Have No Excuse


So, last night, I'm watching the news on NBC and one of the final stories of the evening is how states are preparing and training for the November 4 election. Apparently there's some concern that election equipment and personnel aren't 100% ready and it's possible we could end up with some of the same problems we had in 2000 and 2004 where hanging chads and voter fraud resulted in Bush winning two terms.

It reminds me of an experience I had several years ago. It was around Memorial Day weekend. I had no travel plans and was just going to chill at home. I needed to have my car serviced and I figured I'd take it in a couple of days before Memorial Day. Not because it was Memorial Day, but just because it worked out that way.

So, I'm standing in line to see when I can fit my car in and I overhear this conversation.

Stupid Customer: What do you mean you can't do my scheduled maintenance before Friday? I'm leaving for the Outer Banks tonight.

Mechanic: (Stares incredulously at the S.C. for a second, then says completely deadpan) Perhaps you should have brought it in last week.

Stupid Customer: Well, that's just not acceptable. I don't have time for that and now you've ruined my vacation.

The customer left in a huff. "Too bad about that guy's vacation, eh?" I sarcastically intoned to the mechanic, rolling my eyes. "Yeah," he said. "This happens every year. We get people who come in here and expect a complete overhaul on Wednesday or Thursday because they're leaving the next day to go to the beach or wherever. They've known for an entire year that Memorial Day is coming. It falls on the same weekend every year, but they wait till the last minute and then expect us to perform a miracle."

We both rolled our eyes, then he asked, "What can I do for you?"

"I need to schedule my car for its regular maintenance. I'm in no hurry, though."

"How about this afternoon? I can have it back by this evening."

Okay, that last part didn't happen, but the rest is true. My point is... And I do have one... Election officials and jurisdictions have known for four years that we were going to have a presidential election in November 2008. It falls on the same Tuesday in November every four years. It's the same event. Nothing changes. There's a ballot with candidates names and voters pick a name. There should be very little that is glitchy about it. Technically, we've had eight years to figure out how to make this mostly flawless.

But no. Apparently we haven't.

We have the technology to pinpoint within millimeters the exact spot to deliver a weapon of mass destruction, but we still can't figure out how to make elections fraud-proof and secure?!?!

What the hell is wrong with this country?


P.S. Don't forget: tomorrow is Volunteer for Obama Day at Tewkesbury Place. I'll be volunteering at Obama's new office in D.C. tomorrow. Please join me in your jurisdiction and let's be part of the change we seek. Send me an email or leave a comment about your experience at tomorrow's entry. We want to hear how you participated!


anOCgirl said...

can i just tell you that i think it's really great that you're promoting volunteering for the obama campaign with a special designated day on your blog? that's genius.

i volunteered today and try to do so once a week. it really is the greatest feeling to be working towards something you really believe in.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

OC Girl: Thanks! I'm really looking forward to volunteering tomorrow. I wish I'd been able to before now, but I guess better late than never, eh?

I'd love to link your blog entry from a week or two ago when you first volunteered and wrote about it. Would that be okay?

anOCgirl said...

thanks for volunteering for the campaign. VA needs some help to turn blue so hopefully we'll make it happen this year.

about my post, yeah, sure. definitely. i had some pretty interesting experiences volunteering this past week that i'm going to blog about so stay tuned for more stories from the front lines! :)

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

OC Girl: I hope the canvassing efforts pay off in Virginia. The northern end is pretty blue and should go for Obama, but the central and southern parts are a real concern. Here's hoping these folks are looking for change and can be persuaded.

Maya said...

Hahahahaha. It's just astonishing.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Isn't it though? We can land a man on the moon and safely bring him home, but we can't guarantee the security of our voting? Go figure.