An Election Disaster

Polling places are always scary places. It's where you really learn about humanity and all its foibles. Where you realize that the future of our nation is in the hands of the guy behind you reading the initiatives for the first time and making instant decisions, the woman in front who is convinced everything is a conspiracy. But today the scariest part was the election judges turning voters away from the polls. Yes, turning them away.

I started at the polling place at 2800 Glenarm only to be greeted by a 45-minute wait. And while I later discovered that the line was short by the standards around the rest of the city, it was too long for me. Instead, I called ahead to a friend, who directed me to a fifteen-minute line at the St. Charles rec center at 38th Avenue and Lafayette Street.

I got there, got in line and was thrilled to see I was only about a dozen people back. But by four people deep, the election judges came out and announced that the computers were frozen "again" and it would be a few minutes.

Twenty minutes later, the line was stretching toward the door and the judges returned, saying that the computers were down all over the city and it would be forty minutes before a technician could get out to fix them — that technicians would have to be dispatched to service every site in the city. So why didn't we all just go do anything else we had to do and come back. I would have thought someone had yelled fire at a Great White concert the way that place emptied out. I'm taking bets on how many of the voters get to return -- myself included.

Ironically, when I got back to Westword, I called to let them know the situation. Spokeswoman Meghan Dougherty informed me that the computers had gone back online about twenty minutes earlier -- ten minutes after I'd left the polling place -- and that technicians didn't have to be dispatched to every site. So all of our votes may be lost for the want of clear and accurate information. Now that's scary. -- Amy Haimerl

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Amy Haimerl