Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Our registrar deserved getting fired

Due to some nasty local politics regarding the building of a new high school in my city, the voter registrar was fired. He was fired for cause after he allowed a serious miscount of the number of registered voters on a petition, initially declaring that the petition was void due to a lack of proper signatures. Seems he didn't learn how to count in school and actually miscounted three full pages of signatures on the petition forms. That was unforgivable considering the amount of angst our city has gone through trying to build a high school for $141 million dollars. A high school designed by Graham Gund. Which never even came up on a ballot for the voters to express their opinions. And that's what the petition was about, a special ballot that will now be held in January.

Why am I telling you all this boring local news? Because it has to do directly with my inability to vote for the 4th freaking time in the same damn location. I know it's hard to believe that I could be disenfranchised on 4 sequential elections for the exact same reason each and every time, but then again, let's look at who the registrar was and his inability to read and write.

This is what happens. I go to my correct precinct polling place, the Hyde Community Center, to vote. They look at the list and I'm not on it. Then they look at the second list of voters that haven't voted in a while. I'm not on that list either. So I get sent to the special table, where the lady actually knows me, as I've done this so many times. I fill out the green form saying that I couldn't vote normally. Then she calls the registrar's office and they insist that I live someplace else, and that I should vote there. I refuse because I have a volunteer that drives me to the polls and I KNOW that if I vote at this other place I'll remain on the polls there forever. So I won't go across town to a polling place I'm never supposed to have voted in.

Then the lady hangs up the phone and looks at me sadly and says, "Provisional Ballot?" I say "Yup", and we fill out another form, and then she gives me the ballot. I go vote, put my ballot into a special provisional envelope, and it gets sent to the registrar's office where I'm sure they just throw it away. I think that because I've been doing this for years now, and they WILL NOT change my address to the right polling place. Between the primary, when this happened last, and this election today, I filled out three, count-em THREE different forms to register to vote. I passed one in to city hall at the registrar's office. I mailed one in a week after the primary. And I also filled out one that went into my provisional envelope with the paperwork.

You would think that after doing this so many times, they would change my address and register me to vote. But NOOOO. I've heard every excuse in the book. But the real reason they are so ineffectual is that they can be. The former registrar evidentally didn't give a hoot about how his office was run, and it shows in the way he handled the petition and how they have handled my voting rights.

What they are doing is called disenfranchisement, and it is ILLEGAL. That the people know me in my polling place by name tells me that I've had to fight this fight long enough. This city is falling apart piece by piece. We've got firefighters going 3 years without a contract, living in substandard housing and using substandard equipment. We have teachers working without a contact. We have a mayor that no longer connects to the people and his spokesperson can only be described as unpleasant. City hall isn't working. There is something seriously wrong when a voter fills out form after form after form and still is not registered to vote. I'd like to know what excuses they come up with next. But I'm no longer putting up with this. I'm going public.
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