Well, it was yesterday, but who cares.
My regular polling place is actually quite convenient. It’s at a school less than a block from where I live. But I didn’t want to be in a rush on Tuesday, and the early voting place wasn’t far from where I was getting my hair cut on Saturday, so I thought, Why not!
I was wondering to myself why I never voted early in New York, and I found out not all states have early voting. I don’t know why not. They totally should. Early voting, especially on the weekend, is great if you can’t fit it into the work day on Tuesday.
Anyway, I was surprised by the long line. I don’t know why. It was less than hour before the doors closed so everyone was trying to get in at the last minute. The line snaked down one side of the hall, and up the other. However, it moved at a fast clip. We were told the wait would be over an hour, but it was more like 45 minutes.
What I noticed was that it was mostly white people.When I first moved to San Francisco, one of my first thoughts was, Where are all the black people? According to the 2011 Census, only 6.3% of the San Francisco population is black. That is freaking tiny. In New York, it’s 17.5%, which is still really small, but almost three times the number here. There are a shit ton of Asians in SF – 33.9% – and 54.5% whites, while New York is only 7.8% Asian and 71.5% white. I don’t think I realized how white New York actually is, and how few Asians there are.
The people in line at early voting were not just mostly white, but also aging baby boomers, at least the people right around me. You know, those sometimes clueless liberals who came of age in the ’60s. What do I mean by clueless liberal? I mean someone like Democrat Andrew Cuomo saying of Obama, “You can’t shuck and jive at a press conference,” although he claims he wasn’t referring to Obama. (Riiiight.) These boomers were studying their lists of how they’d vote on the zillion California propositions like it was the SATs. I wanted to say to them, “You know you don’t have to memorize them, right? You can even look them up on your phone” (which is what I did while I was waiting on line).
I know, I know, I’m sure they were perfectly nice, and they were being all responsible and shit, but I couldn’t help but get annoyed by them, and at the woman who was freaking out that she was in the wrong line, despite the fact that 1) three different people told her it was the same line broken into two halves, and 2) she was in the half closer to voting.
Then it was my turn! Suddenly, it did feel like the SATs. How the heck did I select who I wanted? Ah, fill in the broken arrow. Okay, kinda weird. Almost would have preferred bubbles and a number two pencil. Check, check, check (a little random, I confess, on the smaller political offices). Prop this, prop that. Oh, so this would be against this bad thing, right, not for it? This would reduce another bad thing, and increase a punishment for bad people. Okay, okay.
And I was done. But I hadn’t voted for president. What the fuck?
Oh, TWO SIDES. Well, fuck me.
(The same thing happened to me once in college. For my American Literature final, I didn’t realize I had to turn the test sheet over. Me and many of my classmates. I was apparently the only one who called the professor at home and begged to take the rest of the test. It was just me and him in an empty classroom. I still did shitty. It was an incredibly boring class.)
Out went all the cards from the envelope. Okay, whew, there were Barry and Joe (and let’s not forget, Roseanne Barr for the “Peace and Freedom” party, whatever the fuck that is). NOW I was done. I handed in my envelope.
Afterward, I kind of felt like I deserved a cookie or some juice, like after giving blood. I would have gotten a sticker, but forgot. Oh well.
I’ll leave you with this message from Chris Rock to white voters: