Ten rights of Virginia voters:
- To vote if you have registered at your current address at least 29 days before Election Day.
- To seek help from the election officials if you are unsure about anything relating to the voting process.
- To have your paper ballot voided BEFORE IT IS CAST and be given a new one if you feel you have voted incorrectly.
- To vote even if you have no identification with you at the polling place.
- To bring your minor child (age 15 or younger) into the voting booth with you to observe you vote.
- To be given a demonstration of how the voting equipment works.
- To enter the full name of a write-in candidate if the candidate of your choice is not on the ballot (except in party primaries).
- To be treated with courtesy and respect by the election officials.
- To register to vote absentee in Virginia if you are a U.S. Citizen overseas and your last residence in the U. S. was in Virginia, or you are a Virginia resident away in the military.
- To vote if you are in line by 7:00 p.m. when the polls close.
It's Election Day here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and I spent most of it at my local precinct serving as an officer of elections. It was kind of fun, except for the woman who showed up ten minutes after the polls closed and insisted she had arrived before 7:00, but had somehow failed to make it inside in time. I had the person responsible for turning way latecomers, and was thus the person who had to physically restrain her from forcing her way inside, and who was threatened with an assault charge for so doing. She spent about ten, maybe fifteen minutes trying to argue and /or bully her way inside. She finally gave up very shortly after asking to see some official document that said she couldn't vote if she arrived at the polls after 7:00 PM; I had one of my associates bring over a handout entitled "Virginia Voters' Rights and Responsibilities," and I showed her the third to last item on the list of rights, which is the last item on the list above. I think she realized that she had just demolished her own argument, since she was quite obviously not in line by 7:00 PM. So that whole thing kind of sucked, but the rest of it was a pretty good experience.
It may interest you to know that people taking Democratic ballots outnumbered those taking Republican ballots by better than 2 to 1. Strangely, every single one of the six Republican candidates on the ballot -- McCain, Huckabee, Romney, Thompson, Paul, and Giuliani -- got at least two votes at my precinct. Wacky! On the Democratic side, Obama and Clinton took all but two of the votes. Kucinich and Biden each got one vote; Richardson and Edwards were shut out.
And now, I'm going to bed, because I just saw this episode of Good Eats last week, and also because I'm been up since 4:00 AM.