Election Imperfection

The smoke has cleared on the elections in Colorado, and a couple of things have become clear: We don't like Bush, we don't like pot, and we certainly don't like queers.

But it was quite the circuitous route we took to determining these new truths. Voters around the state waited for hours to exercise their goddamned constitutional rights, and frustration soared. Mayor Hick has apologized and commissioned a high-level task force to see what went wrong with voting in the C to the mother fucking O, while City Auditor Dennis Gallagher is calling for the heads of the entire election commission.

It's taken me a few days to wrap my head around my own voting experience, but I do believe I'm finally able to share with you what it was like on that storied day when the Dems took back the House and the Senate. I have found, though, that in this particular instance my thoughts are best expressed in the form of terrible, free-form, beat poetry. If it helps, imagine me wearing a beret while reading this, and a room of fingers snapping.


Election Day 2006

Too many babies, not enough pens, this Mexican rec center smells like cheese. Dogs can't vote, woman two in front of me in line, but you brought yours anyway, didn't you? Because two hours alone is fourteen hours in dog years, according to that warped mind of yours, The same very mind, I might add, which this morning must have yelled something to the effect of, "American flag sweat pants! American flag sweat pants!" And you listened, didn't you? You nicotine and mothball smelling whore. Election Official! You are far younger than the crack geriatric Bingo brigade that checked me in. And are you wearing...yes, you are wearing, a bulletproof vest! Election Official, your bulletproof vest makes me want to shoot you right in your testicles Because there you have no protection. If your body is like the continental United States, Election Official, Then your testicles would be like democracy in the 2000 presidential elections And my bullets, Election Official, would be like a blazing storm of Florida. Use more hair gel, you fucking asshole. But no time for him now. Patrick, another official, is ready for me. Patrick's remaining hair is held together by a thin pastiche of dandruff and flaky soap scum, And his pit stains reach down to his belt. But I like Patrick. Because he expedites. Patrick and I discuss my recent address change and Patrick grows quite confused. We reach an impasse. Finally, Creepy Larry, seated next to Patrick, heroically comes to our aid. "Is your move Denver to Denver?" he inquires. "It is," I say. "Then there's no problem," he tells me. "Thank you," I say to Larry and Larry smiles at me in a way that makes me think he probably voted yes on Referendum I. Into the booth, the magical booth, to jiz democracy through my fingertips. Yes on this, no on that, Beauprez on the other, it doesn't matter what you pick, because no what you choose, you're choosing America! Then suddenly, everything freezes — I can't select any more buttons. I solicit another official. "It let me vote for some, but now I can't select any others, see nothing happens when I touch the screen!" The man stares at me, him old, me young. "You can't vote for EVERY Senate District," he says with the bottled rage of a father who never beat you but came so close on so many occasions. "You can only vote for the district that you live in. You have voted before haven't you?" That's none of his fucking business. Soon after, I leave. That night, the Democrats win back the House, then, later, the Senate, and euphoria conquers the land. And all I can think, after my day at the polls, is that I still wouldn't want to wake up tomorrow a soldier in Iraq. But at least I got two hours off of work. -- Adam Cayton-Holland

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun