The American Duty: Live Blogging My Vote

wp-1465261613292.jpgTomorrow is the California primaries and I have a LOT of problems. Most of them are the people whose names are or aren’t in the candidate slots, but that’s neither here nor there. The best way to explain my political standing is by telling you that I cannot remember who I voted for in the 2008 election. Nobody believes me but it’s true. I started college at a pretty conservative university in 2007 and came in talking about getting some recycling bins on campus and voting for Obama (also “relative truth” but I learned to keep my mouth shut about that pretty fast). When election time rolled around, one of two things happen: I either a) caved to the surrounding pressures of my conservative community and voted for Bush, or b) voted for Obama despite said surrounding pressures. I think (and hope) the latter, but unfortunately I can’t be certain — because either way, the decision strained my integrity and stress levels so much that I repressed the memory and nothing short of cognitive behavioral therapy (which I’m currently too poor to experiment with) has helped me recover it. I think my college boyfriend may know, since he was with me at the time, but he unfriended me on Facebook so… it remains a mystery.

Some other good backstory to my political beliefs is that I really feel strongly not only that everyone should vote, but also that everyone should vote in as much of an informed position as they can (I know you can read things forever and forever, but as long as you can come up with like, 3-5 good reasons for making a decision, that sounds like a good starting point to me). Last election (non-presidential, something local), I spent an entire Saturday researching every single candidate — their websites, news articles about them, bad stuff about them, good stuff, stuff from both sides, their social media profiles, blah blah blah. So good for me, right? Well then I forgot to mail the ballot. Strike 2 for being a good American.

So this time I’m determined to vote properly, but I’m still having some mega issues. The backstory to this particular election is that when I registered in Sacramento, I had this “brilliant” idea of registering Republican so I could vote for somebody besides Trump, but then when I got my Sacramento County absentee ballot, the names on it made me so disgusted and sick that I couldn’t bear myself to look at it or think about it anymore. This is why it’s 6:23p.m. on the night before my ballot is due.

But wait, there’s another problem: somehow I have TWO absentee ballots. I mean I know how — I was previously registered in Alameda County, where I’m from, because I was moving around a lot at the time; and now that I live in Sacramento I finally registered here. But I also don’t know how in the sense of, aren’t there a million people working on these things making sure everyone is only voting once and keeping track of who is registered where and when and why etc? Shouldn’t someone have noticed I had two ballots somehow and done something about it or rather, just not sent me a second one in the first place? I guess I always thought or trusted that by this point in American history where this whole system would be pretty smooth by now. I mean I remember hanging chads and all that but this is the age of Twitter and and hoverboards and microbrews so I guess I was hoping for a little better by 2016.

The good news is that my Alameda County ballot is a registered independent ballot. The bad news is I’m not sure I can use that ballot. Investigation time! My first set of questions is a sci-fi situation: did I clone myself? Are there now 2 separate registered Melissa G’s? Is it that easy? Am I at the porthole of a parallel universe? If I fill both these out, will I be able to go in and out of another life? My second set of questions, all wormholes and galaxies and transmogrified twins aside, involves my voting options: is this predicament actually a moment of grace where I can actually use my Alameda County independent ballot and NOT vote for any of these Reps like I in some moment of blind stupor (read: paralyzing fear of Trump from some Facebook article I read while hyped up on too much caffeine) thought would be a good idea? Can I use either of these ballots, or is one “more real” than the other? If I vote using the wrong one, will my vote not count (horror of horrors especially after all this stressing)?

6:26 p.m. holy shit I almost mixed up the ballots in the pile of stuff on my desk. Hallelujah the Republican one is red at the top. Crisis averted

6:38 p.m. Google is super confusing on all this but I found this website that allows you to check your voter registration by county. This is great! I learned that I am indeed officially registered to vote in two counties! But, as all these forms and envelopes are reminding me in thick black print, VOTING TWICE IS ILLEGAL. I would say I wouldn’t even think about it, but I thought about it. So time to figure out which one I should use.

6:46 p.m. Googling and not finding much, only that college students are not allowed to register to vote in two places, which I’m assuming goes for everyone, because why would college students get special privileges just because they can do a kegstand? Starting to get worried that if I blog about this I’ll get in trouble somehow? For being illegally registered? Also starting to get worried about internet trolls giving me either a) a super hard time for some of my inane chatter and views and b) instant answers or links to websites with answers that will solve all my problems the second I post this and mail off my ballot (don’t worry — I’ll wait til tomorrow to send it off so answer away, friends & citizens).

6:48 p.m. Thinking about crowdsourcing this on Twitter or Facebook but do not feel like dealing with the social ramifications of it (or the ensuing black void I feel in my soul when no one ends up responding, pick your poison). Also getting stressed because an old grad school friend and his wife are coming through town for dinner and 42 minutes is not a lot of time to make an informed decision about the future of America.

6:49 p.m. Giving up. Calling Dad. He says go with the one you registered with last (Sacramento). He is at dinner with four of my uncles and my cousin and they all concur. So we’ll go that route — Sacramento ballot it is.

6:51 p.m. (Staring down my Republican ballot and fighting back tears)

6:53 p.m. Big girl panties on. I can always fill it out and not mail it. Or fill out both, and then go talk to some nice person at the polling place, and have them help me mail one and shred the other. Why didn’t I think of that before? Of course the answer is both/and. I’m an American! I want it all! Sweet, we can just have fun with this blog now and work on the other ballot later and let somebody else help me IRL when the morning comes. And then I can get one of those I VOTED stickers. And then I can feel real American.

7:02 p.m. There is no way I am going to get all this research done before Z & E get here. If I just write in Bernie Sanders on the Republican ballot does it count? I don’t even need to Google that to know the answer. Actually wait, yeah I do.

7:04 p.m. God there are so many damn websites on this stuff which is great, yay public information, but it’s kind of a lot to figure out and how do I know which is right and wrong and dated? Read all the time stamps and compare them I know I know but dinner ain’t gonna eat itself

7:06 p.m. Resorting to process of elimination. Trump is a big obvious NO, that’s the whole reason I’m in this mess in the first place Cruz is out, right? And Kasich? If Kasich is out why did Schwarzenneger vote for him? Who the hell is Jim Gilmore? Oh he’s from Virginia forget that. Why aren’t there any women on this? Fuck it what’s good enough for the governator is good enough for me.

7:09 p.m. I literally feel like dirt. Dirt my dog shat in. A lot

7:10 p.m. On to County Central Committee Member. There are 3 women on this! Woohoo! Except if they’re Republican they’re probably like Sally in Scandal. Google search comparing the “Retired Literacy Coordinator” (first thought: yay reading! second thought: sounds old. third thought: that’s ageist. fourth though: old people can be wise) with the “Legislative Assistant.” Literally all that comes up for both of them is “not enough information.” Goin’ with ol’ lady Reading Rainbow here & hoping we all get more free books out of this. By the way what is a County Central Committee? Thank you Wikipedia (this is about the Democratic party but I’m going to assume the Republican side operates the same way. Dangerous assumption but Z & E just texted, 10 mins to go!).

7:19 p.m. Just realized I could vote for 4 County Central Committee Members. Voting for everyone except Jim, the only white man (and perhaps not surprisingly a retired engineer).

7:20 p.m. Holy f*ck there are 3 more pages of this and Z & E are 8 minutes away. My initial inclination is just to vote for whichever senator candidate has the coolest looking job but they all have pretty cool looking jobs. I feel like making jokes about all of them. Since when did this turn into a comedy blog? Pamela Elizondo caught my eye (Green party preference, “Environmental Healing Consultant) but then this is what I got out of Google so nevermind. I don’t even disagree that much it’s just mostly the grammar and formatting stresses me out

7:25 p.m. Still no decisions reached. Skipping this page.

7:26 p.m. Hell yes Doris Matsui for Congressional District 6. And hell yes Z & E are here. Peace out it’s dinnertime, I’ll leave you guys in suspense. Stay tuned to hear what happens when I show up with 2 ballots at the polling or mailing or whatever place tomorrow!




2 thoughts on “The American Duty: Live Blogging My Vote

  1. This is hilarious. Thank you! I needed a laugh since I filled out my absentee ballot two days ago and and still feel depressed about it. One of the most frustrating voting experiences ever! (But I have a feeling Nov is going to be worse! Yikes!)


  2. Y’all kill me. Vote your soul. If it’s good, it’s good… If it’s bad, it’s bad…
    No judgement, that’s not our place


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