Trouble at the polls

By Jaclyn Fox
November 4, 2004

I am a political science and history major and have always believed in voting.

Young people often get a bad rap by not voting in large numbers. Tuesday Nov. 2, election day, I understood why.

It took me three tries to vote. First, because I was not sure I would be able to get home I applied for an absentee ballot. In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania where I am from required an absentee ballot to be received by Oct. 28. This wasn’t feesable for me, for I didn’t receive the absentee ballot until that day.

I talked to my parents and made a plan to travel home to Northeast Philadelphia to vote.

On Monday night, I headed home to vote, planning on casting my cote at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

My parents and I arrived at our polling place, Austin Meehan Middle School on Ryan Ave., at 6:55 a.m. We waited for five minutes for the polls to open. Seven a.m. came and went. At 10 minutes after we found out that the voting machines were broken. We stayed until 7:30 but I had an 8:15 and would not stay any longer. I made it to my 8:15 only five minutes late.

My mother called our local politicians and the committee of 70 and the city of Philadelphia none of these people could help us. When my mother went to vote early in the afternoon, she was told that the voting machines did not work until ten minutes to 8 p.m.

During the trip back to Cabrini, my father and I planed my third attempt to vote in this election. We decided to head back home around 3 p.m. We arrived back at our respective polling place a little after 4 p.m. When I gave the workers my name they nearly did not let me vote because I had applied for an absentee. The poll workers then looked at all of their paper work and it was proven that I never sent in an absentee ballot. Finally, at about 4:15 p.m., my third attempt, I submitted my vote in this important election.

I have always believed people should vote that it is an American’s duty to follow politics and vote but after yesterday even I have my doubts. The American voting system can quickly disenfranchise Americans especially the young people if I had lived father away from school I would have not had the option of going home to vote after the first and second tries that I tried to vote.

Posted to the web by Paul Nasella

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Jaclyn Fox

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