Tuesday, August 26, 2008

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION

I never made it to Denver so I voted this morning. Apparently I am on some blogger watch list at the airport. I declined the invitation of a very large man named Stanley to do a cavity search prior to boarding the aircraft. So I decided watching the convention on CNBC was good enough, and as I headed back from the airport, I decided to vote. 

Here is democracy in action- Miami style: 

I parked and approached the polling site. There were several elderly women sitting on chairs surrounding the entrance. Upon seeing me, they immediately sprung into action, grabbed their walkers or canes and cards containing ads for various candidates and descended upon me. 

Now I've lived in Miami long enough to understand most Spanish, so I immediately recognized when an elderly woman loudly insulted the heritage and family members of Fidel Castro while thrusting a Rick Corona for Judge card into my hand.  Another woman attempted to press a voting slate into my hand while complaining, I'm pretty sure, of the Dolphins decision to release their kicker from last year and go with a rookie. She also doesn't like the 3-4 defense, which she made quite clear to me in Spanish while handing me a Harvey Ruvin for Clerk card.

Finally, as I almost entered the polling place I felt a distinct tug on the back of my Team USA Basketball shirt that I always wear when traveling. A woman thrust a slate of candidates into my hand and told me in no uncertain terms that I had to vote for them. My Spanish is not great, so I carefully inquired if I could vote for anyone else?  
"NO" came the loud response. "These were the people I must vote for."  I waived over a polling marshal, whom I'm pretty sure I recognized from the security screening at the REGJB. Therein ensued a loud argument in Creole and Spanish between the marshal and the woman. 

I walked into the voting area adjusting my Team USA shirt and handed another elderly  woman  (aren't their any retired men who work at polling stations?) my election card and driver's license. 

 "WHO ARE YOU"? she screamed at me in Spanish.
Well I certainly wasn't about to reveal my identity as the blogger at this point, so I said my real name. 
"NO. WHAT ARE YOU?" My spanish isn't great so I had not correctly understood the first question. It has been a long time since anyone ever seriously asked me that question and it caught me by surprise.

"American?" I ventured.

"NO. WHAT ARE YOU?"  She screamed again. She was shouting in Spanish loud enough to actually wake up the other poll workers. 

"A human being?"  I mumbled, "although some who read my blog might disagree. Really I just want to vote."

Another poll worker came over and explained I needed to tell her if I was a Republican or Democrat. The crisis being settled, I signed my name, received a ticket, a large folder and a special pen and was sent to the voting booth. 

So much for electronic voting. We are now back to the days of SATs and the like. It's the good old fill in the oval with the special pen. 

The ballot has choices for Clerk of Court (I voted for Harvey) Judges, and two referendums on the back, which basically ask if the voter has any decency left to want to help feed hungry children. (I voted yes twice.)

I confess that I spent several minutes pondering the Manny/Migna race. 
I could not bring myself to vote for either of them. 
I pondered the "einy meeny miney moe" method, and then thought it would be disrespectful to the soldiers in Iraq who attacked Sadam Hussein because (VP Dick Cheney has told us) of his opposition to the "einy meeny miney moe" method of voting. 

"Miami Loves Migna" or so the song on the blog says, I thought to myself. But it's been years since a song influenced how I voted. (Although I thought it was pretty cool that Joe Biden was introduced as Obama's running mate to Springsteen's "The Rising").

Eventually I settled on a decision, which I will not reveal here. I just hope whoever wins surprises all of us. 

After you vote you have to take your ballot to an optical screening machine.  The one I used was one of the newer ones, which I could tell because the tape holding it together was still sticky.  A polling official came over and took my ballot and (I kid you not) carefully looked at every choice I made.

"What are you doing?" I said. 

She replied in Spanish that she was checking to make sure I voted correctly. 

"I don't think you're allowed to do that" I said. And she scowled at me like I was a relative of Fidel Castro. Another official came over and I inquired if voting in the United States Of America was by secret ballot. 

"Que?" was the response.   I did not know the phrase "secret ballot" in Spanish, so I had to wait several minutes for another supervisor to come over, wherein  I explained the situation.  The three of them huddled for a few minutes, casting glances at me that I had not seen since I had tried to board a plane earlier in the morning. Eventually the supervisor and returned and explained to me (and I have not made any of this up) that If I really wanted to, I had the right to have the ballot put through the electronic screener without it being reviewed. 

I opted for that decision, and someone pulled a starter cord and the high tech optical screener coughed to life and I put my ballot through and voted. 

I love this country.  And I really love my town. Who could think of moving anywhere else, when this kind of entertainment is available for free?

Check in tonight as I will give a running update as the returns come in. 


29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of naming a building after Miss Reno but if done here in Miami I think it would bring about the following result: Cubans Are Revolting

Anonymous said...

lol. I had a similar experience this morning. But - BUT - I could have sworn that my ballot did not have the Clerk of Courts race printed upon it b/c I have no recollection of ever seening Harvey's name despite reading everything very carefully. Perhaps because Doral is too far west to be considered Miami-Dade?

Anonymous said...

LOL... welcome to optical scan. The nosey poll workers always try to "check" your ballot -- if it has been improperly voted the scanner will kick it out. Also, on most models, it can be read face side up or down, so no need for poll worker to insert it right side up to view your votes. I always insist on submitting it myself and always with my marks concealed from their view.

Anonymous said...

Now THIS is bloggin'

Hilarious.

I love Miami!

Anonymous said...

A sweet Haitain lady carefully inspected all of my voting choices. It was the most F*&^$# up thing ever. I froze. And then I could not help laugh. My hands were full and she asked if I would like her to sign the slip at the end saying that I had voted. I didn't make that up. I almost peed my pants. If you voted for BIGDUH, you deserve what you get.

The Devil's Advocate said...

Dear Trialmaster,

If you think Bernie deserves to remain on the bench, then please go out and vote for him. Voter turnout is very low. Your vote could make a difference, you know.

Anonymous said...

The ballot they handed me looked like something left over from the "Mad tea party" al la Alice in wonderland. It was 3 feet long and a foot and a half wide, wrapped in a giant menu like thing. The ballot had triple large type, and huge ovals that that looked like cannellini beans. No more hanging chads here but Florida voters will screw it up anyway . Jason Grey

Anonymous said...

I got acosted at the polls too but, the guy was nice.

He pushed me hard to vote for Cueto.

The ballot was more than three feet long and it only had a few candidates on it.

I voted no for the kids. That is simply a tax they are trying to keep under the radar.

Anonymous said...

My ballot did not include the option to vote for clerk of court. Interesting . . .

Anonymous said...

Hey what gives?! I didn't get to vote for clerk in Miami Beach.

Anonymous said...

did anyone notice that this years' ballot did not indicate if the judge, clerk or mayor was the incumbent? This would be a good project for The Captain to research and find out why the change.

Real Time Vote Totals said...

Go here for the real time 4 split screen live feed of the tabulation rooms showing the elections commission counting vote.

http://www.miamidade.gov/elections/home.asp

This is the first year that this feature is available. It will open a windows media window in real time showing tables of election workers counting those ballots.

Also here is the real time link to the actual results. Refresh every few minutes to get lastest count. The county will begin posting votes at 7pm at this link:

http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/FL/Dade/7231/8477/en/summary.html

Anonymous said...

Good evening and welcome to the primary election night where we will bring you vote by vote tallies all evening.

With no votes counted we can provide you the best result in the Manny vs Migna race:

0 of 764 Precincts Reporting
Percent Votes
Migna Sanchez-Llorens 0.00% 0
Manny Segarra 0.00% 0

Anonymous said...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 12:32:00 PM

You are a registered Republican and only Democrats can Vote in the primary for Ruvin who is democrat.

On Nov 4, everyone will vote for the Clerk race with a total of 4 candidates.

Anonymous said...

Even though I had both license and voters card I was asked to sigh the ATM gadget three times so that it matched my signature on my license.

Play by Play on the Migna v. Manny Race said...

Play by Play on the Migna v. Manny Race.

http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/FL/Dade/7231/8477/en/md.html?cid=0187

2008 Early Voting Numbers said...

Candidates wasted alot of time at the early voting site and under 3000 people total for the county early voted.

Here are the statitics just released:

http://www.miamidade.gov/elections/Library/ev-stats082608.pdf

Anonymous said...

12:32:00 PM - It was a DEM primary so since your voting for McCain you don't get a choice in this battle.

Anonymous said...

the manny migna race was really hard. it was like one of those games you play when drunk--who would you fuck roseanne barr or rosie o'donnell is someone had a gun to your head

Anonymous said...

LOL. I love this blog. And, this is the best post in long time. I laughed my ass off.............even as I understood how incredibly asinine and scary the situation has become.

Anonymous said...

Hi all,

I attempted to write-in a certain name in a certain judicial race. After much scrambling b/c they didn't know what to do, the lead pollworker finally called the Dept of Elections for about 10 minutes. After concluding the call, his response to me is that you can't write anyone into any of these races, b/c there is no place on the ballot to do so.

I suggested that perhaps the lack of space on the ballot was a mistake, and that they let me write the race number and my vote on a piece of paper. If in fact, one can not write in someone for a judicial race, they could throw that piece of paper out. However if one can, they could count my vote.

They said no, and no amount of arguing would sway them.

Anybody know the law on this? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

so far cohen and cuellar at a dead heat neck and neck

Jeri Beth Cohen 50.39% 21,266
Abbie Barbara Cuellar 49.61% 20,941
42,207

Anonymous said...

This one is scary:

Mario Garcia 57.83% 23,827
Stacy Daryl Glick 42.17% 17,376


Mario a Judge lord help us!

Anonymous said...

as expected

David Nelson 34.68% 5,301
Harvey Ruvin 65.32% 9,985

Anonymous said...

Migna will take it:

Migna Sanchez-Llorens 60.64% 23,683

Manny Segarra 39.36% 15,371

Anonymous said...

CIRCUIT JUDGE, 11TH CIRCUIT - GROUP 50 Vote type summary Contest Detail Map
0 of 764 Precincts Reporting
Percent Votes
Ricardo 'Rick' Corona 49.89% 20,209
Abby Cynamon 50.11% 20,296
40,505

CIRCUIT JUDGE, 11TH CIRCUIT - GROUP 51 Vote type summary Contest Detail Map
0 of 764 Precincts Reporting
Percent Votes
Marcia B. Caballero 62.18% 25,220
Douglas J. Chumbley 37.82% 15,340
40,560

CIRCUIT JUDGE, 11TH CIRCUIT - GROUP 55 Vote type summary Contest Detail Map
0 of 764 Precincts Reporting
Percent Votes
Jeri Beth Cohen 50.39% 21,266
Abbie Barbara Cuellar 49.61% 20,941
42,207

CIRCUIT JUDGE, 11TH CIRCUIT - GROUP 57 Vote type summary Contest Detail Map
0 of 764 Precincts Reporting
Percent Votes
Denise Martinez-Scanziani 45.68% 18,606
Bernard S. Shapiro 54.32% 22,125
40,731

COUNTY JUDGE, GROUP 42 Vote type summary Contest Detail Map
0 of 764 Precincts Reporting
Percent Votes
Lisa Victoria Lesperance 46.20% 18,066
Norma Shepard Lindsey 53.80% 21,040
39,106

CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT Vote type summary Contest Detail Map
0 of 764 Precincts Reporting
Percent Votes
David Nelson 34.68% 5,301
Harvey Ruvin 65.32% 9,985
15,286

CIRCUIT JUDGE, 11TH CIRCUIT - GROUP 11 Vote type summary Contest Detail Map
0 of 764 Precincts Reporting
Percent Votes
Jorge E. Cueto 52.72% 20,951
Josie Perez Velis 47.28% 18,789
39,740

CIRCUIT JUDGE, 11TH CIRCUIT - GROUP 18 Vote type summary Contest Detail Map
0 of 764 Precincts Reporting
Percent Votes
Migna Sanchez-Llorens 60.64% 23,683
Manny Segarra 39.36% 15,371
39,054

CIRCUIT JUDGE, 11TH CIRCUIT - GROUP 19 Vote type summary Contest Detail Map
0 of 764 Precincts Reporting
Percent Votes
Yvonne Colodny 29.30% 11,845
Patricia A. Kopco 26.65% 10,772
Stephen T. Millan 44.05% 17,805
40,422

CIRCUIT JUDGE, 11TH CIRCUIT - GROUP 38 Vote type summary Contest Detail Map
0 of 764 Precincts Reporting
Percent Votes
Mario Garcia 57.83% 23,827
Stacy Daryl Glick 42.17% 17,376
41,203

Anonymous said...

I am registered NPA (no party affiliation)and the Clerk of Court race was on my ballot. No congressional race, no school board race, but Clerk of Court yes.

the trialmaster said...

3:12. bernie does not need the trialmaster. Besides, the trialmaster rarely surfaces in family court. No jury trials means no trialmaster.

Brother Beaker said...

And is it any wonder that first the Supreme Court and then the Demoratic Party decided not to count votes from Florida?

This is why I miss Miami.