Here in America today, deep in the South, not super deep, but deep enough, I eagerly set out to vote in the mid-term elections. As a repatriated expat I no longer have to mail in my absentee ballot from Amsterdam. With my shiny new South Carolina driver’s license and voter registration card in hand, I arrived bright and early at 7 am when the polls opened at my local elementary school. I was sure I would be in and out in 15 minutes. Silly me.
Having voted for years up North, (in just 15 minutes), I was expecting signs telling me where to park, where to enter – basically where to vote. I thought I’d see campaigners with signs standing 100 feet back waving as I pulled in. Not a one. I parked in front of the school near another newbie South Carolina voter and we searched together for the right entrance. At the third door we tried to enter at the front of the school someone came to the door to tell us we had to enter around the back. I asked why there were no signs directing people where to enter. She had no idea.
At 7:10 am when I arrived at the back entrance, and there were still no signs directing anyone anywhere, I followed people who clearly knew where they were going. And then I did see a sign: “No concealed weapons allowed.”
I made my way inside to the back of a snake-like line around a corner of 200 deep in a dark hallway waiting to vote. An hour and 15 minutes later I finally checked in and cast my electronic vote on one of only eight stands with an iPad-like screen hoping no one was hacking my choices. I left happy to have done my civic duty and to be out of that ridiculously long line. On the way out passing folks coming in, the line being twice as long as when I entered, I was surprised to hear people say the line was shorter than the 2016 Presidential election.
Man I miss those speedy hacker- free paper ballots back in MA. Next time, I’m voting early or maybe I’ll be traveling on Election Day and need an absentee ballot once again.