I woke up bright and early at 5:45am today to head to the polls in Clarke County. I pulled in about 6:05am and the lines were not too bad at all; divided by A-L and M-Z - being a "W" I took my spot and began waiting.
As I stood in line, I looked around and started to get emotional...tears formed in my eyes as I thought about how epic this election is. There were several African-Americans in line directly in front of me, and no matter who they were voting for, I just really imagined how proud they must be...how awesome this experience must be for them - regardless. This also made me feel very proud of my country and for the names on the ballot in general.
As it became my turn to check in, I told the volunteers my last name and presented my drivers license. I watched them scan the list for my last name and I only saw my parents and brother...in my head I thought...here we go! I was told that I wasn't on the list...
I am thinking that I just moved three weeks ago. I have not changed anything with the DMV. There is no way that I am not registered in Clarke! The volunteers then start to ask me a barrage of questions - 1) are you registered to vote? YES 2) did you just move to CC? NO, I have lived here for three years 3) have you voted in CC before? YES, multiple times.
One of the volunteers, who I know was only trying to help (and I thank her for being a volunteer) asked me multiple times if I had voted before. Please note that patience is NOT one of my virtues; however, I held my own for a few minutes until the third or fourth time she asked me. Here it is at 6am, I'm still in my PJ's, the dog is in the car, I HAVE NOT brushed my teeth (didn't expect to have a ton of people up in my face), no coffee, and I am trying to figure out IF I am going to be able to vote before I leave town this afternoon...anyway, upon being asked yet again if I had voted before, I looked her square in the eye and boldly said "I am 29 years old, this is the third presidential election that I have voted in!!!" (blowing my bad morning breath all in her face...I'm sure she regretted asking me for several reasons!!!).
The next thing I know, I am pulled out of line so we can call "Barbara" at the courthouse. She runs my social and informs me that I am set up to vote, but under my married name (my name that I changed back in March of 2008; I changed it at DMV and I changed it at the Clarke County courthouse!!!). Apparently these changes can take some time to make it through the system...whatever...it is what it is.
I explained to the powers that be that I was listed under my old last name "F". I had to tell about four different volunteers my story. Each one said "oh, your married name hasn't taken effect" OR "oh, I see, you are still listed under you maiden name." Neither of which was the case. Having lost all patience by now (these poor people), the same lady that I had snapped at to tell her that I was 29 years old blah, blah, blah...asked me if I had sorted everything out. I told her yes, that it was b/c I was listed under the incorrect last name - she said, "oh, your maiden name" AND she directly caught my fire..."NO, I am listed under my married name and that is no longer correct, I should be under my maiden name!!!"
After all of the delay, the only thing that kept me from going over the edge, was that the kind people helping me exercise my right to vote, allowed me to butt to the very front of the A-L line. The next thing I know, someone who is present to protect voters shoves a form in my face for me to fill out stating the issues I had run in to. G-R-E-A-T! His goal, a very noble one, is to work to ensure that these sorts of things do not happen to voters. I filled it out and thanked him, but I was really just ready to get the whole thing over with.
It was a frustrating morning at the Boyce Volunteer Fire Department to say the very least...as I left, I just reminded myself of a phrase I reference often, which is nothing worth having necessarily comes easy...
DISCLAIMER: I am very thankful for the right to vote and for all of those who have worked so hard and sacrificed to pave this road for me :)