5 Things I'm Looking Forward To Now That I've Voted

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Well, I just exercised my constitutional rights. And it was glorious.
Actually, it wasn’t. I stood in line for an hour, which was fine and expected. The only problem was that the woman behind me would not. stop. talking. I’m telling you, she chatted incessantly, oversharing her entire life to virtual strangers. Thankfully, she wasn’t talking to me, but still, what could have been a pleasant, meditative hour of people watching instead turned into one of the longest sixty minutes of my life. It got me thinking: what will I be happiest about most once I’ve cast my vote? Well, now I have a list, and I hope you’ll relate.
The top 5 — plus more on that woman — after the jump…


5. Not Watching Dogs Crap
Since my polling place is in West Hollywood’s Hart Park, I spent an hour next to a fenced in enclosure watching dogs play. Sounds enjoyable enough… that is until a big ol’ dog squats down in front of you and expunges a fluorescent pile of canine diarrhea. Charming.
4. Freebies!
Apparently there are freebies galore around Los Angeles today. All you have to do is show your obnoxious little “I Voted” sticker, and voila! Free donut! Perhaps the most widely publicized promotion is at Starbucks, home of the impenetrable lid. People who show their sticker get a complimentary cup of coffee. Sounded like a plan! I already had it mapped out in my head: free coffee and then maybe a little pastry on the side for breakfast. One problem: when I got to Starbucks, they said the promotion only applied to hot coffee. Fine, I could forgo my usual foofy order of Mocha Frappucino. But what if I didn’t want hot coffee? Would it still apply to iced coffee? NO. Even though it’s pretty much the same thing but with ice, I was told hot only. That’s when I said smell ya later and left emptyhanded. Now I’m hungry and thirsty, but at least I have my pride.
3. People taking “Hussein” out of their middle names on Facebook
First, let me say that in general, I’m excited that political activism on Facebook will be dying down (hopefully) by this time tomorrow. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to read that so-and-so’s status has been donated to Obama or McCain or Nader or Keyes or whatever. If that’s not bad enough, one of the most annoying trends (sorry friends!) is this habit of putting “Hussein” as a middle name. Look, I don’t want to be a hater or anything, and I know the reasoning behind all the Hussein stuff, but seriously, it’s so damn annoying, and no one wants to say it because everyone’s afraid of upsetting their friends. But I’ll say it. It’s super annoying, and I’m an Obama fan! I’m just glad that by tomorrow, hopefully most of those Hussein people will drop the gimmick. In other news, I’ve now lost half my friends.
2. That woman shutting up
So let me tell you about this woman behind me in line. She felt the need to tell practically her whole life story to some poor lady next to her. I shouldn’t say “poor” actually because I think this other woman actually liked it. Clearly, they were two lonely souls — although, the chatty one claimed to have a boyfriend (who loved horror movies and invited her over to watch all the Saws on Halloween, but she just didn’t want to do it! No siree! She hates horror! But she did hear about this movie called The Dead Girl and that sounded interested, but she just didn’t know.)
Anyway, this idiot (I call her that because, well, you’ll see) first starts talking about how she works at a law firm downtown as some sort of paralegal or contracts administrator. Then she starts babbling about how she doesn’t have a law degree, but she’d really like one because she wants to work on this huge lawsuit with a million documents but without the degree, she has to work that much harder to get the job, even though she’s totally prepared for it because she’s totally worked on large class action lawsuits. Plus, she used to work on Federal death sentence cases, but that was a bit taxing on her because she would become a little attached to the client, and then they’d, you know, DIE. So she moved to civil, which is easier emotionally, but much more boring.
Well, she babbled on about this for a while, eventually discussing the merits of law school, night law school, and school in general. I learned that she doesn’t have a lot of money right now and that she’d love to be traveling, but really, would that be smart? (No, she announced). Plus, in her heart of hearts, she really wants to be a journalist, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. She does, however, do press junkets for the AFI, and omigosh, last night she did one with one of her favorite actors: Mark Ruffalo. She was so star struck that she didn’t know what to say! He stared at her like a deer in the headlights, and now she’s so embarrassed that two of her favorite movies of all time are ruined: Just Like Heaven and 13 Going On 30.
Of course, mentioning 13 Going On 30 kicked off an in-depth analysis of Jennifer Garner’s career, with both women agreeing that they didn’t like her doing serious stuff, but she’s great in comedies. “What was that movie she was just in? Juno?” asked the other woman.
“No,” replied the chatty one.
NO?!? Are you kidding me? Jennifer Garner almost got an Oscar nomination for her performance! This was killing me. KILLING ME.
Well, we were at minute 45 of this banal conversation, and it was still going strong. The woman then talked about how she was just so bad at the junket because the night before she had gone out to drink. I mean, she’d gotten home by ten, but after four glasses of wine “the first two hours of sleep don’t count, right?” SHUT UP.
Chatty then started babbling about Joaquim Phoenix and how difficult he is, noting that with his family “The problems are genetic.” It was around then that the women began talking about movies, and I learned that Chatty’s boyfriend was a horror junkie. Plus, I also learned that she lived in a complex that she affectionally dubbed “Melrose Place.”
“Oh, does it have a courtyard?” asked the other woman.
“No,” she replied. WELL THEN IT’S NOT MELROSE PLACE. I would have gladly taken ten dogs pooping in front of me than listen to any more of this ridiculousness.
Thankfully, I entered the polling station, and I knew I could finally be rid of this awful, awful woman. Or so I thought. Midway through my voting process, the woman took her place at the booth next to me and attempted to take on the ballot. A little context: in California, we don’t have voting booths with curtains and whatnot. It’s just a rickety setup at a table with some low cardboard barriers to prevent people from seeing what you’re doing. Also, our ballot is like a standardized test: we must fill in dots with a special pen (as opposed to flipping switches on a machine).
WELL. This was a bit too much for Chatty to comprehend. She literally turned to me and said, “I don’t know how to vote!” I quietly ignored her, hoping that she’d just leave me alone or at the very least, READ THE VERY SIMPLE DIAGRAM AND INSTRUCTIONS. Seriously. Idiot. And she wonders why she doesn’t get hired for law suits.
What this woman lacked in smarts, she more than made up for in persistence. She actually poked me on the shoulder (isn’t there a law that you can’t touch people while they’re voting? There should be) and asked again how to vote. This was annoying because a) it just IS annoying, and b) I was trying to read the description of a proposition. I tersely pleasantly told her that you just slide the ballot into the designated area, attach it around the two protruding knob things, and fill in the dots.
The woman graciously thanked me, but then two seconds later, she asked, “Do I punch the holes?”
“No, you just fill in a dot,” I replied, a bit more tersely.
“It’s not working,” she said, soon adding, “Oh wait. Now it’s working.” Seriously, this is how Florida happened.
To her credit, she did apologize to me for being such a nuisance, and while I’m sure she’s perfectly nice and sweet, she just talked entirely too much. That’s why when I handed over my completed ballot, I was actually happier to be away from this woman than I was to have finally ended the voting process.
But for my number one thing that I’m looking forward to now that I’ve voted:
1. This election finally being over
I’m so sick of it.
How were your voting experiences? Did you vote? You should.

40 replies on “5 Things I'm Looking Forward To Now That I've Voted”

  1. really? it was a pen that looked like it marked the ballot, but when you slid the card out, it fully punched holes throuhg.
    same county, different voting methods? THIS is how florida happened.

  2. I was introduced to the wonders of a mail in ballot. Sit on the couch and take my time to read through each amendment, drop off the ballot at early voting (I even got to walk past those that were standing in line for that too), no lines, no idiots, and it’s a hard copy (we’ve got electronic in CO).

  3. Add me to the “I’m sick of this election” roster. One of the morning DJs this morning commented that this has been the “longest election in history” and said we’ve been hearing about it for 22 months. It feels even longer that that.
    I’m looking forward to approximately four weeks of election-free media coverage (of course, this is after the ten weeks of election debriefing we’re going to get next) before we start getting smacked upside the head with Election 2012 reporting.

  4. Wow! What a pain – it was beautifully sweet & easy here in good old TN. Free snacks, cokes and coffee right in the main waiting area and it took about 35 minutes. Of course since I live in TN, my vote for Obama doesn’t really count for much. Oh well, the wonders of the electoral college.
    Love your blog, B-side.

  5. I did the mail in ballot and it was awesome. I got to read the whole thing and look up the judges and such.

  6. Thank Rob for voting by mail. I voted 2 weeks ago, over and done.
    The only down side is that I don’t get a neato sticker that entitles me to any freebies for doing the right thing.

  7. I voted in Ohio this morning and it only took about an hour, so that wasn’t the annoying part. The annoying part was that all the booths were taken so I had to vote at a long table with minimal privacy and several times as I was filling in the SAT-like ovals, someone knocked into the table and I lifted my pen right before it trailed across the ballot. Would have been PISSED if I had to get in line and get another ballot.
    3 hours later I’m sitting on the couch blogging and a lady comes to my door to make sure I voted and if I hadn’t, they would give me a ride. These were Obama people. I wonder if McCain’s volunteers were doing the same thing?

  8. I was prepared for a line, but my entire voting experience including driving to the polls took 5 minutes. I was actually a little disappointed because I wanted to see lots of people out there voting.

  9. absentee ballot – not only avoiding lines/yaping people/shitting dogs but for a whole week before the election I can tell people who want my vote “Too Late.”
    only drawback – no ‘I voted’ sticker. just a tear off top. Meh.
    hb

  10. B-Side…when I voted absentee in Illinois in ’04, we had the same voting format! Annoying as hell, but that’s why there are DIRECTIONS.
    This year, I voted early (again, in Illinois) and it was just a computer screen. Very manageable, although I checked back three times just to make sure I’d pushed the right button for Obama/Biden.
    This was two and a half weeks ago, so I went on my lunch hour and was pretty much able to get in and get out. Didn’t get an I VOTED sticker, but they took my word for it at Starbucks this morning.
    I’m going to Grant Park tonight for Obama’s final rally and am incredibly excited. Of course, like you, I’m also excited for this whole damn thing to be over.

  11. Here in NYC we still have the old-school voting machines, where you move the levers. I love them, but I’m seeing that they’re breaking down a lot so it might be time to switch to something else. Sob. I got on line at 5.45 AM so the line wasn’t bad, but they don’t give out stickers or receipts here so no free donuts or ice cream for me! Happy Election Day everyone!

  12. Voted mail-in about 2 weeks ago (CO). I second the no-sticker sadness. What’s strange is that I got the stickers with the mail-in ballot request form (in July) which means that people may have gotten stickers who didn’t even vote. I meant to attach mine to my calendar, but didn’t, and now have no idea where they are. Maybe my dog ate them. She would.

  13. I look forward to voting because A) it’s the right thing to do and B) it’s like a neighborhood party while standing in line…seriously, everyone knew everyone, which is very cool. BUT I was saddled with standing next to my neighbor (who is The Human Drip) who droned on about absolutely nothing for over an hour. That shit would’ve made Jack Bauer cry.
    At least I was comforted with the pitying “Sucks to be you” looks from the others in line as well as the sweet “I voted” sticker as a lovely parting gift.

  14. I voted on the first day of early voting here in TX, but even if my vote won’t matter here the fact that my STEELERS beat the Redskins last night means that Obama should win. WTG STEELERS!!!

  15. I’m mad because I, like Phoebe above, voted in Nashville today (two votes for Obama in Tennessee!), and there was no coffee or snacks anywhere. I feel slighted. I do enjoy free snacks. Damn East Nashville.

  16. I voted today in Chicago and only had to wait 5 minutes AND I left my ID at work (long story) so I voted with only my signature for verification.
    I am very ready for this election to be over!
    But, in other Bside fan news, I am going to an Ina Garten book signing next Tuesday, woop!

  17. I voted for the first time here in Michigan….Im from New Mexico….and it was an OK experience. NM used to have voting machines which I LOVED but switched to the rickety table/fill in the oval combo like many others do now. Michigan was the same.
    My voting experience was ….BLAH. Didn’t get a sticker so that sucked.
    But the deed is done, so I am happy for that.
    I did have to deal with annoying people picketing outside the polling place, for some lame-ass school board position. Isn’t there a law that says you can’t picket so close to a polling location? Anyway, after my fellow-voter who I was standing next to heard them call us “rude”, I blew my top and
    Ms. Elect-Me-For-This-Lame-School-Board did NOT get our vote. Last minuite campaign strategy FAILED, suckas!

  18. i dealt with the same thing! not only did chatty kathy yell out her life story the entire hour i waited in line, but she also nominated herself in charge of the voting lines. every time a person walked up to the line, she turned around to yell loudly that last names J-Z should wait in line on the other side of the polls, as if the LARGE sign didn’t already specify. and she wasn’t even getting paid for this. so annoying!

  19. I love early voting!! Voted last Tuesday, took about 45 minutes, everyone was in a great mood. There were a few scatterbrained people (election officials as well as voters), but no one really ticked me off too much.
    The cool factor about early voting was the electronic machines. Regular voting had the paper ballots. Electronic beats paper by far!
    Didn’t get free coffee, doughnuts or other stuff (apparently there were some interesting giveaways today!). But I did my civic duty. And for the first time in a while, it looks like most of the people I voted for will prevail. Yay!

  20. So I guess I’m the only one on her who didn’t vote for Obama…
    I’m not entranced by his siren call.
    I’m all about early voting.

  21. I waited for about an hour. People were schticking it up ALL OVER THE PLACE. There was the volunteer who thought it was really funny to make a joke about us starting a free donut line instead. The old guy behind me who talked about how he remembered what it was like to actually vote BEHIND a curtain and how he wouldn’t dare to try the electronic ballot b/c he can BARELY USE HIS COMPUTER! Non of this was very amusing at 6:00am. But, being in VA, it was nice to feel like my vote finally meant something, so it was worth it.

  22. According to our local Registrar Of Voters we shattered all records for voter turnout. Might be as high as 80% with the youth and first time voters being a large portion of the 80%.
    YES WE CAN.
    hb

  23. In MA the candidates’ names at next to arrows with the middle parts missing…you fill in the center of the arrow for the person you want. Not exactly high-tech.
    Not sure if this happened elsewhere, but I wasn’t even asked for ID when I voted. I was very disturbed by this. Just gave my address, and they checked off my name. What was to stop me from coming back 4 hours later (or even 40 minutes later, with all those people checking in, who would remember me?) and posing as a friend/relative who I know is registered to vote but isn’t planning on it?
    I’ve read before that requiring stricter voter ID laws could prevent some people who don’t have access to birth records, etc. from voting, but there has to be a better way than this.
    Oh well. Don’t have to think about it for another 4 years 🙂

  24. Siren call… truedat.
    Shame on me for not working harder for the Libertarian party… excuse me now, while I go flush my paycheck down the toilet.

  25. Alli
    I live in MA as well and we were just talking about how nobody asks for ID – seems ripe for fraud.
    “Vote Often and Early”
    BUT, I live/vote in a small rural town in central MA so I’m pretty sure the old polling biddies know my every move.
    They scare me a little

  26. btw, i’ve been without internet access for 24 hours; so apologies for no posts! Don’t know when I’ll be back up and running…

  27. That woman sounds EXACTLY like my office manager. She doesn’t know how not to talk. She thinks every second needs to be filled with noise. Even when she’s in her office by herself you can hear her talking to herself non-stop. I hate people like that with a passion.
    Anyway…….YAY OBAMA!!! Boo to homophobes!!!!!!

  28. See, there’s this magical place called Starbucks. And while they do have really shitty lids for iced drinks, they also have this little thing called free wifi.

  29. I honestly didn’t think I would miss the meanderings of your mind but there you have it, I do. Hurry back wayward son,

  30. Voted here in Atlanta via mail-in, love it! They actually included a “I Voted” sticker. God Bless America.

  31. Voted here in Atlanta via mail-in, love it! They actually included a “I Voted” sticker. God Bless America.

  32. Voted here in Atlanta via mail-in, love it! They actually included a “I Voted” sticker. God Bless America.

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