the best way to fill out your ballot

My iPod was fully charged in the case that I had to stand in a long line to vote. I wound up only standing behind two persons in line. The volunteers at my polling place were rocking and a bopping. While in line, the kid in front of me was asking about his registration card. I calmed his nerves and told him he was ok after I glanced at his card. I swiftly moved through the stages of getting my whatever card to sign, receiving a receipt stub, and finally my ballot complete with black Papermate ballpoint pen.

The voting booths were all full and the polling volunteers said we can vote at a table if we want. I opted for the table. I figured sitting at the table would speed things up for others who really wanted a booth. And I had nothing to hide. I wanted people to see me voting for Barack Obama. Looking back, I would have preferred a booth. Standing while making my votes is more of a powerful, symbolic gesture versus simply sitting down. However, the table I was at was round, so there’s some symbolism there. Also, I shared the table with another voter who shook the table as he filled in his ovals. I actually FELT the voting process. That was cool.

And about those ovals. I overheard someone telling someone else that you can’t just put an “X” in the oval and that it must be filled in. Yes, indeed. I recommend the following penmanship technique. Start by making a small mark in the center of the oval, then build on that mark. The oval will get more and more filled with your pen marking. You will quickly approach the edge of the oval. Be certain not to go outside the edge of the oval. That’s why I prefer the center-out technique. You can work your way slowly to the edge. I experimented with one oval with the outside-in technique. I found that it was much more difficult to stay within the oval’s boundary.

I saved the best vote for last. Obama-Biden. I contemplated filling in that oval first. However, I wanted it to be a moment I could savor. I didn’t want the distraction of all those circuit courts and county this, county that stuff to overpower my Presidential vote. However, I was very nervous that I would forget to fill in my Obama-Biden vote after dealing with all the local votes.

So that leads into the situation that every voter must face. How do you vote for all the local races when you know next to nothing about the candidates? Today’s Tribune gives a concise list of all their endorsements. I voted for all the Democrats that the Trib endorsed. Then when they endorsed a Republican, I only voted for the ones that don’t function by a majority like Recorder of Deeds. I don’t know how much power a position like Recorder of Deeds possesses, but I felt comfortable having a Republican in that role if the Trib deems it fit. Some of the Trib recommendations for local positions were for Republicans and I just left that vote empty.

The ballot had a ton of uncontested races where only a Republican was running. I was feeling patriotic and voted for all those uncontested races. In the past, I didn’t want to express support for them. But this time I figured it really doesn’t hurt anything. It was a vote expressing my support of the democratic system.

For the record, I did vote for Jill Morgenthaler (D) for the U.S. House of Representatives 6th District and Dick Durbin (D) for the U.S. Senate. I also voted against the Illinois Constitution rewrite. As former governor Jim Edgar said, there’s no need to spend $80 million on a new Constitution. If you’re not happy with Illinois politics, then change the politicians in Illinois. Having greedy and corrupt politicians rewriting the Constitution doesn’t seem right.

I was quite disappointed not to receive a “I voted” sticker as I exited. However, I’m following the logic that it’s good they ran out of stickers because it means that a ton of people have voted already. I casted my Obama vote at 10:40 a.m.

At one point while I was filling out my ballot, I heard the polling volunteers say they ran out of black pens and that people need to return their pens. I had an extra black pen in my pocket which I gladly donated to the pen cup.

As I was walking back home (yes, I walked to the polling place. That’s one advantage of being unemployed) a man pulled up next to me and asked where the polling place was at. I directed him to its location. I was happy to help that kid with his registration card, donating a pen to the pen cup, and helping someone find the polling place. I hope my penmanship inside-out oval technique helps you in your voting.

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15 years ago

You should probably start spelling his name correctly now: baraCk. ๐Ÿ™‚