Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Voter Suppression - Delaware Style

Voting location Cape Henlopen High School lobby with the requisite Old Doddering Fool in front of me

Hey Karl Rove and all you tea bagging Republicans who want to suppress the vote:  check out the way Delaware is suppressing voter turnout!

I just got back from voting in the Delaware primary.  Whoever came up with this plan for my new voting place was genius!  Guess what they did.  Whereas I used to vote in nearby (emphasis on "NEARBY") Brittingham Elementary School in Milton, now I have to vote at Cape Henlopen High School on Kings Highway in Lewes.  Yep! Cape Henlopen High School ON A SCHOOL DAY ON ONE OF THE BUSIEST ROADS IN SUSSEX COUNTY.  Whoever came up with his idea was a genius!  I almost turned around when I saw the line of cars waiting to get into the school this morning.  Were they voting?  Oh no, they were the kiddies going to school.  Some of the cars were parents taking their kids to school, the other cars were the kiddies themselves.

Entrance to voting location - Cape Henlopen High School
After waiting about 20 minutes in backup traffic I finally got into the high school parking lot.  ALL THE PARKING SPACES WERE FULL!  GENIUS!  I almost turned around and went home.  But I was determined to vote for the gay candidates running in the Democratic primary so I bottled the steam that was coming out of my ears, gritted my teeth and persevered looking for a parking spot on the way edges of the school parking lot.

I think I see a spot only to find I'm going down a one way road which is block with traffic cones manned by a black Marine in fatigues.  "Good morning sir, how are you?"  (be careful what you say Ron, he has a weapon) How am I?  I AM FURIOUS!  Slowly I say, "Where can I park?"  He indicates a spot way to the back of the lot, near the football field.  Oh, okay I can walk but "how am I going to get their SINCE YOUR PARKING CONES ARE BLOCKING ME?"  He says he will remove the cones and LET ME THROUGH.  Thank you Jesus.

The Scooter Lady (with the BLACK HAIR) and the Old Doddering Fool and Wifey Poo holding door for Scooter Lady at the voting place 

So, I weave my way to the back of the parking lot, all the while Bill (who just HAS TO COME WITH ME EVEN THOUGH HE's NOT VOTING) is giving me advice from the Peanut Gallery.

I park.  I get out and walk the mile or so to the high school entrance.  I'm behind an old doddering fool (see the OLD MAN in the black and white stripped pullover who is in all my pictures).  I'm greeted by the People Who Always Hang Out At The Entrance Of The Voting Places.  They seem so glad to see me but in reality they couldn't give a shit about me, all they want is my vote.  I'm in no mood for pleasantries this morning.  All I want to do is get around that Old Doddering Fool and vote.

Next thing I know a woman in one of those personal scooters (or whatever they call them),  sneaks up behind me and almost runs over my foot.  She has her little basket on her personal scooter.  Oh how cute.

The People Who Always Hand Out At The Entrance Of The Voting Places all seem to know her.  Oh joy, we're going to have Old Home Week.  Lots of "Oohing and aching"  and "good to see you!" and all that phony bull crap. Can it lady with the too dark dyed black hair and get out of my way.

I finally get into the lobby of the school where the polling tables are set up.  I take out my iPhone and take my requisite picture.  Right away an officious looking man approaches me with a scowl on his face ("What?  I'm not allowed to take a picture?") He says to me "Can I help you?" I answer "Yes, I WOULD LIKE TO VOTE."  He thinks he has me now when he asks me "Can I see your voting card?" I wiped the smirk off of his face when I whip out my voting card. He gives me one of THOSE looks and points me to a nearby table and wouldn't you know it?  I'm behind not only the Doddering Old Fool who is trying to figure out where he puts his signature on the registration sheet (he's all confused with the upside down thing so the poll worker can read his name - I've dealt with these people before when I used to work the polls when I lived in Pennsylvania).  Finally he figures it out and shuffles off to one of the voting booths.

I'm next!  I sign my name even though my printed name is upside down (see the previous paragraph for the explanation) and I am pointed towards the next voting booth.  Would you believe it but the woman with the pitch black dyed hair and the personal scooter is IN THAT BOOTH!  Of course she is standing but that annoying scooter is sticking out under the curtain.  God, get me out of here!

Finally, her skinny phony ass finishes voting and she astrides her scooter and scoots out, waving to one and all like Queen Elizabeth II making her farewell exit from a public event.

Time for me to vote!  I WALK into the voting booth, curtain drawn and look for my favorite gay DEMOCRATIC candidates.  I push those electronic buttons.  I vote for the only name I know who is running for senator, Thomas Carper.  There are three candidates running for state treasurer or auditor, I forget which.  I know none of them.  One of them is a woman so I vote for her.  When in doubt always vote for the woman or a person whose name ends in a vowel.  That has always been my rule when voting and I don't know the candidates.  Let the women in and non Anglo-Saxon white males.  If there was a way to discern who was gay I would always vote for them too.  I'm a firm believer in breaking up the Karl Rove/George Bush/Dick Cheney/Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan, et al white homophobe male stranglehold on elected offices.

I push the big green VOTE button.  I'm done!  Now to get the hell out of there, past all the students shuffling through the lobby with their backpacks and full uniform, combat, camouflage fatigues. Excuse me but WHAT IS THAT ANYWAY?  I must really be an Old Fuddy Duddy but when I went to high school the only time we wore costumes was on Halloween.

So I weave my way through all the fashion conscious students (or pupils, there is a difference you know - as was explained to me many years ago when I went to school students were there to learn whereas pupils only attended school - see there Miss Hurlock something you said stayed with me all these years).

I walk the mile or so back to my car parked at the FAR END OF THE PARKING LOT NEXT TO THE FOOTBALL FIELD and face my next challenge - how to get the hell out of there.

After encountering several dead ends, I finally found myself on Kings Highway.  I zipped up to Rt. 1, past all the orange wheelbarrows (DelDot is in the midst of road repaving at night - lucky me I get to thread the needle every night when I come home from work at the hotel while they're laying asphalt).

I bitch to Bill about how my head is about to explode because I couldn't find someone to blast for the totally STUPID MOVE to have the voting location at A HIGH SCHOOL ON ONE OF THE BUSIEST ROADS IN SUSSEX COUNTY ON A SCHOOL DAY!

Hey, I love living in Southern Delaware but let me tell you folks, this was a disaster this morning.  I hope to hell they get their act straightened out by Election Day.  At least the school will be closed (I think) and I won't have to see all those wannabee student/soldiers in their Halloween costumes.

  The Annoying People Who Always Hang Out At The Entrance To Polling Locations


Anonymous said...

I am so glad I live in California and can vote by mail. I wish all states would allow it. My only concern is that my ballet arrives soon, as I be spending three weeks in North Carolina next month. I should still have time to get my ballet in upon my return, but I don't trust the post office.

Cindy from Sonoma

Ron said...


I wish I could vote early or by absentee. Unfortunately, Delaware has a high bar to qualify for absentee ballot voting. Besides, I like the experience of actually voting at the polling location although this morning wasn't such a pleasant experience.


Ur-spo said...

I always vote absentee ballot to avoid all this lunacy.

Cubby said...

I love your stories. About the folks handing out crap at the entrance... one time that happened to me in Cleveland as I approached the polling place in the dark at 6:30am. She startled me, coming out of nowhere to shove some propaganda in my hand. I abruptly raised my hands and made a cross with my two index fingers (an anti-vampire gesture) and hissed. Yes, I literally hissed. Her eyes just about fell out and she ran away. Yes, she literally ran. LOL I'm still chuckling about that two decades later!

Amanda said...

Because of my business and crazy hours, I've received my "permanent absentee ballot" by mail for years. Frankly Ron, I would be very upset too if I lived in Delaware. That is just not acceptable.

Humberto Dib said...

Great blog, Ron, liked it.
I'm following you.
Cheers from Argentina!

Roger said...

defintely an epic fail on Delaware. In Georgia it is a mandatory day off on all voting days. And I agree I like the experience of visiting the polling place and voting and since my precient is the activity room of the a senior highrise I regularly run the obstacle "hover rounds". :-)

Harpers Keeper said...

What a dreadful experience! AZ has a long history of making it hard for [certain] people to vote. There was a literacy test in place into the 1970's and it took Federal court action to get voting rights for native Americans. Because of its past history, AZ is one of the states where any change in voting proceedures must be approved in advance by the Dept of Justice before it can be implemented. Still there are a couple things done well here. A large portion of the electorate receives their ballot early by mail. You can either return it by mail or take it to any voting location on election day. Also, while Federal law prohibits electioneering within 75 feet of the entrance to a polling place, AZ law prohibits electioneeering on school property so, if you are lucky enough to vote in a school building, those people that hand you things must stand across the street or on the public sidewalk. If you drive to to the polling place you must drive past them but they cannot be between you and the door to the polling place if you park in the school's lot.

Ron said...

My blog posting about "voter suppression" in Delaware yesterday was actually tongue in cheek. I don't think that Delaware is actually trying to suppress the vote but I have discovered since I moved to Delaware how inept and incompetent they are about voting. When I first moved here I had a very difficult time even finding out WHEN the primary was held and where. I made calls and searched the Internet and finally found the date when the primary was held. I guess I was spoiled by all my years living and voting in Pennsylvania where they made voting easy and convenient. Of course that is not the case in Pennsylvania this year since the Republicans got into power and have enacted their new voter ID law which the Republican Majority Leader of the Pennsylvania legislature brags that will "ensure Mitt Romney's election."
I checked into doing an absentee ballot but I really don't want to vote that way unless I can't get to the polls on election day. Hopefully the school will be closed this election day.


Ron said...


I couldn't believe that my voting place was the lobby of a school on a school day. Then to run into this woman making her "hover rounds" with all her friends only aggravated the situation more. At least there weren't any of those parents who use their kid filled strollers to make their way through a crowd.


Ron said...

Humberto Dib,

Welcome to my world!


Ron said...


I considered voting an absentee ballot but I do like the experience of actually going to the polls. That's why I volunteered as a poll worker and worked as a poll worker many years ago when I lived in Pennsylvania. Of course I'm glad I don't live in Pennsylvania now because I would be embarrassed to ask voters for their voter id.
There are many things I love about living in Delaware but their voting apparatus definitely falls short of competent.


Ron said...

Dr. Spo,

I'm considering that option.


Ron said...


Always good to hear from you. I hate see those people at the entrance to the voting locations, even though some of them I agree with politically. By the time I'm ready to vote, I've already made up my mind and no one at the entrance to the voting location will change my mind. You gave me a good idea about using the anti-vampire gesture. I would have loved to seen the look on that woman's face when you did that.