Well this past Tuesday was election day, so naturally Ken and I went out to vote before we took off on a fun date together. This is how it's done in "Snakenavel", Maine (right across the river from "Podunk").
Basically, you saunter into the town's Community Center and are immediately greeted by Ed and Peter and Josh. Ed and Josh are running against each other for state rep, so they are competitively (and obnoxiously) cheerful and enthusiastic in their hand shaking, baby kissing, and effusive smiling. Amazingly, Ed recognizes us, even though we haven't seen him for two years!
Nobody stands a chance of displacing the eminent S. Peter M., so he can afford to be more aloof. He hovers back by the soda machine and yawns and glances at his watch wondering when his wife will bring his lunch. He's beyond schmoozing now, but occasionally he makes eye contact with an entering constituent and gives a wry grin and halfhearted wave.
Once you pass the candidate gauntlet, you pick a table to sign in at: A-L or M-Z. Unfortunately, I can never remember where our last name fits in, so I have to tick off the alphabet until I get to "G", then I promptly get in the wrong line anyway. It's a good thing Mulletman was there, or might have signed in as Norma Zelby or something!
You don't need any I.D in Snakenavel, all you have to do is state your name and address, they hand you two paper ballots (three for presidential elections) and off you go to one of the many voting booths. The booth are covered by little red, white, and blue curtains that only hide the voter's upper body. You can very clearly see legs in any booth that is occupied. I found it quite humorous to note several people who went up to empty booths and then peered tentatively behind the curtain as if they were afraid someone might be inside all bunched up on the little writing tray so their legs wouldn't show.
The actual voting is quite easy. You pick up the black marker on the writing tray and fill in the bubbles by your choices. When you're finished you head over to the voter card sucking machines. These are incredibly cool! You set your card on the edge of the slot and sluurrrrp, your votes are forever gone in the belly of the beast.
Since there are two separate ballots, there are two machines and there are two highly trained individuals to instruct you in their use. As you walk up, assistant number one says, "White ballots go here!" Then the next lady chimes up, "And colored ballots go here." Suddenly she sputters and turns bright red, "Um, I didn't mean COLORED ballots, I meant PEACH ballots!" She looks around fearfully prepared to ward off the attack of the highly offended ballots of color, but none of them seem to care. Mulletman and I stifle our chuckles until we get our complimentary "I Voted" stickers and step out into the hallway There, we burst into uproarious laughter and it echos off the tile floor and walls.
Naturally, there were many important issues on Snakenavel's ballots, but only one had Mm and I really concerned. We got to vote for the name of the three bridges that cross the river and islands into adjoining Podunk. Sadly, they picked stupid names like "The Peace Bridges" or the "The Snakenavel - Podunk Bridges" or "The Three Bounding Bridges of Brave Soldiers from Itty Bitty Towns in Maine Who Have Won Medals of Honor Bridges". Mm and I, disdaining such absurd names, agreed to write in our choice for bridge monicker: "Larry, Moe, and Curly". Sadly, our write-ins didn't even get reported in the paper. So much for democracy!