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Paul Nicholson
Nashvegas TN
Digital Marketing guy for Captain D's. Hockey fan, photographer, and father of 2 awesome boys.

(Opinions expressed here are not those of my employer. Heck, they might not even be mine.)

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

not-so-secret ballot

I vote at Stratford High School in East Nashville. A politically active area, and one with a polling place that is very efficient. I have rarely had to wait more than 3-4 minutes to vote, but the area usually has a pretty good turnout.

However, the last three times i've voted, i have also had the pleasure of watching those before me cast their votes. It gives you that tight community feeling you understand...

You see, they setup the voting booths in the front lobby of the school, in front of the mirror-backed trophy cases. That's right - they setup the secret ballot voting booths right in front of a WALL OF MIRRORS! They have a blue tape line marking where you can't walk any closer to give people privacy while they vote. Problem is that i can actually see what they are doing better by standing back than if i was standing closer!

I've diagrammed (pardon the quick/sloppy artwork) the setup below:
I could see clearly what the guy was doing in the far left booth (as face the booths waiting in line). The fact that the booths were at an angle just made it that much easier to see.

When i mentioned it to the officials, they went over to the one person who i couldn't see (in the far right booth) and interrupted him in the middle of voting and asked him to stand a little closer - like he was doing something wrong!

All it would take is draping some butcher paper, posters, or sheets over the trophy cases. I've mentioned it every time i voted in the last three elections and nothing has been done.

I finally just looked up the contact info for the election commission - they don't have EMAIL!?! So, i just spend 15 minutes on hold on their general call in number (the pre-recorded message at the beginning wanted to make sure i knew they would be closed on Jan 21st for the MLK holiday). Finally i spoke with a general worker who was very polite and transferred me to Ms. Joan A Nixon's voice mail. I was assured that she would return my call. Her email is listed on the commission's website, so if i don't hear back from her soon i'll probably drop her an email.

I will update this space if they do ever contact me back or anything comes of this.


Anonymous said...

I think this is surely a violation of the Constitutional Right to a secret ballot and gross neglect. They surely need to replace such non-responsive workers.

Jeff Pope said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Pope said...

if i say this a million times it is never enough...I LOVE YOUR BRAIN!!! dude, what scares me the most is i can follow you. that would irritate me to no end. thanks for being a responsible citizen. the problem has to be that you voted in a school not a church. that would never happen at woodson chapel church of christ :). actually, i'm surprised it hasn't...oh yeah, we don't have mirrors. my problem is with the old people that make up 95% of the poll place workforce. i was directed to one line and after standing in it for 20 minutes told i was in the wrong line and had to start over in another line for an additional 20 minutes. when i informed her of her error she said, "oh, you're the 1% exception that actually lives on edmondson pike with that area code, sorry." at least she apologized, but still get rid of the freakin' oldies.

Christy said...

Tag! I tagged you for a meme. Check out the "blah" post on my blog.

PhragMunkee said...

Sloppy artwork? That's pretty good for sloppy! What'd you use?

Paul Nicholson said...

i feel great shame in admitting this...but i just used MS Paint on my work machine. All i have installed here right now.

Allison said...

I wonder if anyone else has commented on their set-up. I was a little surprised that our polling place didn't have a curtain or wall to create privacy, but at least their weren't mirrors! I could see people as they voted, but not how they voted. sidenote: i agree with phragmunkee - nice quick art job. =)