A couple weeks ago, Texas started early voting. I voted. I voted in the Democratic Primary. My primary vote is basically 2/3 of a vote without the caucus vote to follow. (It's more complex than that, but that's basics.)
So tonight was the night that if you voted early or voted tonight in the primary, when the polls closed, you were able to caucus. The caucuses in Texas are like mini conventions at every precinct in the state. What I've heard and read indicated that it's not so much debate and convince and sway but show up and sign your name and kind of be done with it.
So Ms. A and I took the kids to our precinct (our old precinct actually since we hadn't registered in our new one) and proceeded to stand in a line for two hours and move roughly ten feet.
At close to 9pm we decided we couldn't keep the kids there any longer. Ms. A had already got out of line to take them to get food and then come back and we'd gone from the entry sidewalk to just inside the door to the school.
This isn't a knock at the precinct leaders and organizers. Texas is having a surge of voting participation not seen in years and while I believe they're doing their best, I don't think the system can handle it.
So we left, caucus vote uncounted. Even if I was childless I don't think I'd want to hang out there for that long. I felt like I was in line for U2 tickets. The really sad thing was there wasn't but 200 people, maybe 250. I saw the vote boxes leave about 8pm which meant the polls were closed but they were wrapping things up an hour after they told people to show up for the caucus. And I honestly don't know what they were doing in there. I don't know if it was a one at a time thing where the head of the line was given information, coached, given the option to sign something and then let go or if they were just trying to get people into the building and into one room. It was frustrating.
Dare I say I felt disenfranchised. No, I won't say that. I was just frustrated.
And now I'm listening to MSNBC and the talking heads and pundits jibber-jabber about early results and voting irregularities and the phrase "too close to call." Olbermann is now saying Ohio doesn't believe it'll have all the votes in until 4:30am.
You know, I got no problem standing around for a while to cast a vote, but there's got to be a better way. If only we had a way to tie a lot of computers together so they could talk to each other and then maybe adopt some conventions so developers could write the same types of software so people's homes computers could all use the software. Then maybe we could USE that to cast a vote.
All kidding aside, I can register to vote, I can get a license renewal, I can buy groceries and books and music and junk for my cubical, is there a reason I can't vote? And don't give me voter fraud, it's not like what happened in Ohio and Florida in years past was perfect. Use the technology given. Voter turn out would soar, in my opinion.
Yours may be different and that's why we vote.