February 17, 2008

Check Yes or No!

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , at 12:26 am by Jenn

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Maryland’s primary elections were Tuesday and I still hadn’t received my ballot.  My mom is an election official and emailed me on Wednesday with the reason…apparently I am registered as an “Unaffiliated Independent”…..WHAT? SINCE WHEN? 

The first opportunity I had to find out what the heck was going on was Friday.  I’m 7 hours ahead of the East Coast so I anxiously awaited the Prince George’s County Board of Election office opening so that I could get this all straightened out!   I got a very nice girl by the name of “Michelle”.  I gave her my name and told her that I was calling to check the status of my absentee ballot.  She looked me up in the computer and informed me that I was not able to vote in the primary election because I was registered as an Independent.  I told her that she must be mistaken.  I had registered to vote back in high school as a Republican and voted in every Primary and General election since that time.  She then told me that she had no voting history for me……WHAT?

By now I was fuming!  I insisted that I had registered to vote as a Republican and that someone had changed my affiliation without my knowledge and that I wanted someone to look in to it.  She told me that she would have to pull my original registration card and call me back.  I asked when I could expect her call and she told me in an hour.

That was a tense hour.  I was ranting and raving about my constitutional rights and all sorts of things.  The hour came and went and I decided to let it go an hour and a half and then call back. 

I get Michelle back on the phone and she tells me that she has my original card in front of her and that I didn’t check any party affiliation.  I told her that just couldn’t be.  I distinctly remember choosing to be a Republican in 9th grade Civics class – I remember checking in on voting day at both Primary and General Elections and seeing Republican next to my name… she and I went back and forth for a while and finally she told me that she would have to check another database to see if she could find a voting history… apparently there are 2 databases…maybe my history was in the other database.  In the meantime I told her that I would try to locate my Voter Registration Card which I clearly remember saying REP.  

I found the card and sure enough, there it was in capital letters, plain as day…REP.  Then I noticed something that made a lightbulb click….my MAIDEN name.  I had her looking under my married name.  No wonder there was no voting history, I haven’t voted since I’ve been married.  The last time I voted was in November 2004, under my married name. 

I get Michelle back on the phone and explain to her what I think is the problem and she agrees, yes….that is indeed what has happened.  My records have not been merged….why I asked?  I filled out the form at the MVA for a new drivers license due to name change and requested that the change be made to my voter registration.   She asked if I also checked the box that said for my name to be changed on the voter registration….I couldn’t remember.  She said I must not have because they created a new registration for me in my married name rather than editting the registration made in my maiden name….

 End result, because I did not check that box (allegedly) I am not able to vote in the primary election even though we have established that I indeed did meet the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot, and I am a registered Republican and therefore eligible to vote in the primary elections….why, because I failed to check some stupid box at the MVA and requested the absentee ballot in my married name and not my maiden name.  What a crock of shit!  Excuse my French!  Just one more reason why changing my name after 35 years was a bad idea.

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