John and I voted in our local election this morning. We were voters #2 and #3 in the big echoing hall of the Methodist Church down the street. It was carefully set up with five voting booths and four friendly precinct officers.
The officers sat side by side along a table, ready to check in voters. They check and recheck and get signatures and cross off names. But they are not required to ask for ID. That is ridiculous.
It makes me mad every election.
I had the opportunity to work as precinct officer during the last presidential election, and the potential for fraud made me simmer all day long. It still makes me mad.
I’m a pretty honest person and here’s my story.
About 15 years ago I found out that I don’t have a middle name. I always thought I had one, and I used it and I believed it was official. (I have no idea how that first official document with a stated middle name came into being.) But then, for some reason, 15 years ago I needed to have a certified copy of my birth certificate and discovered that I do not have a middle name.
I was glad because I didn’t like the name very much, so I set about the process of removing it from documents and records. Easier said than done.
One of the things I did was re-register to vote, changing to my name to the new version sans the middle name.
Election day came, and off we went to the polling place. My name was listed – twice – once with the middle name and once without. I told the election officers and they tut-tutted about the oversight. When I got home I called the registrar of voters and was told that they would fix it.
The next election I was still on the books twice. Again I called the registrar of voters.
Then once again. I walked into the polling place. There I was, once again, listed twice! I smiled sweetly at the nice poll worker. “I’d like to vote under this name first,” I said, “and than I’ll come out and get my other ballot so I can vote under this name.”
“You can’t do that!” he sputtered.
I explained the problem I was having, and had been having, for the last three elections. Somehow that day, those precinct officers managed to take care of the duplication.
Since then we have come to know our precinct officers pretty well. They always recognize us. Now they know our name, and they know our kids and we always chat for a few minutes. By now I guess they know that there is only one Andrena Paladini in this precinct, but I still wish they were required to ask for a driver’s license or some kind of ID.