Jessica Gross

Voting Confusion

In musings, people watching on November 4, 2008 at 12:05 pm

I moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan in August, but I forgot to change my address with the Board of Elections until a week ago (read: too late). Not a big deal; I’ll go to Brooklyn to vote. And also, not surprising, because I’m the type who would forget to change my address, or not know how to do it.

But is it just me? A few of the smarter people I know have had issues, too. One, who graduated from college in June and works at Goldman, thought he could change his address on voting day. He’ll either have to go back to New Jersey to vote or forget it. Another, who lives in New York but is from LA, sent in his papers requesting an absentee ballot on time. But last week, he got a letter informing him that there wasn’t time to process his papers and mail him an absentee ballot, so he’d have to vote in LA. (Of course, he can’t be there, which is why he wanted to vote absentee.)

Even this week, after realizing I needed to vote in Brooklyn, I had to ask a few people before one explained where to access my polling site. Shouldn’t this be more intuitive? I read the Times every day. I have Internet access all the time. Same for my confused and disenfranchised friends. What about people who don’t have Internet access? I bet a huge chunk of those who don’t vote don’t know how to register, where to register, when to register, or where to find their polling sites — or are screwed over by the system.

I realize this is what get-out-the-vote campaigns are trying to address by sending volunteers door-to-door registering people and setting up phone banks to tell people their polling locations. But what if the entire system were more intuitive? What if voting registration forms were mailed to every address, or stacks were put in post offices and supermarkets across the country?

For now, if you live in NYC and still don’t know where you’re voting, go here. And VOTE!

  1. yep, my life sucks

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