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November 4th, 2008
02:53 PM ET

Sorry I voted and you didn't

Gabe Falcon
AC360° Writer

I had an interesting voting experience.

First, the back story: my wife and I moved from one part of the Upper West Side in New York to another part of the Upper West Side. Considering we’ve never left the neighborhood, this was a big bold step.

At the time of our relocation, my wife, Jenny, filled out a new voter registration form that noted the address change. I did not. She mocked me and said I would have to walk 10 blocks to vote while she just had to saunter over to the Public School 8 across our street and cast her ballot.

This morning, Jenny grabbed a coat and a cup of coffee and headed over to the school. My daughter and I strolled quietly behind her. Inside the polling center, a volunteer informed Jenny that her name was not on their manifest. Jenny asked the worker to check again. He did. The same result. Maybe you’re still registered at the old address?

My wife turned around to me and did what she usually does – insist this was all my fault. I have been married long enough to know she was right. (A helpful hint to husbands: when your wife calls and you answer the phone, don’t say hello – just say I’m sorry.)

So Jenny, Emily and I walked down Amsterdam Avenue to our original polling center. It’s also a school. But instead of the 15-minute wait at P.S. 8, this one was packed with hundreds of voters. The line snaked back to Amsterdam before doubling back up to the front of the school.

Jenny was not happy. But we waited. And waited. And waited.

An hour and a half later, we were inside the cafeteria. I noticed a Republican inspector sitting by himself in a corner. He said business has been slow. I suggested he move to Texas.

I walked up to the counter, gave them my name, received a voting card, pulled the lever and that was that.

When I emerged from the booth, I heard my wife. I didn’t see her. I didn’t have to. She was having an argument with another official. “What do you mean you don’t have my name? What is going on here?”

She was furious. Somehow, her identification was in election limbo. “You can fill out a paper ballot,” she was informed. That didn’t go over well with her. But Jenny signed the form and handed it back to the official.

She then did what I knew was coming. She yelled at me.

And I told her she was right to yell at me. Because it was my fault. It always is.


Filed under: 2008 Election • AC360° Staff • Voting
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Yuki Poudyal

    I'm a student at St. Lawrence University,Canton, NY. I'm not a US citizen but I've been following the election closely. I've been very excited for this day to come. Today, one of my professors let us out of the class early because she couldn't focus for the lecture. We were ready for the making of the history.

    As the day progressed, I asked some of my American friends if they had voted. They didn't! I was shocked. I asked them why and I was flooded with lame excuses like "I don't like politics", "I didn't register ", " It does not matter".

    I was furious. How can they call themselves liberal arts students? I am just mad at their ignorance and apathy. They don't know what they have and they are wasting it. If only I could vote...

    November 4, 2008 at 8:41 pm |
  2. Missy

    I think/hope the whole "it always is" your fault was with your tongue poked firmly into your cheek...

    November 4, 2008 at 8:16 pm |
  3. Paco - Tucson, AZ

    There's a lot going on here. Even the body language of yourself and your daughter walking behind your wife says a lot. And what it all adds up to is this: You, dear Sir, are in an abusive relationship.

    November 4, 2008 at 7:46 pm |
  4. carol

    I also cast my vote today and was told that I was still listed under my maiden name (which I change almost 2 years ago). Luckily I was still able to vote – and hopefully it gets counted.

    November 4, 2008 at 7:29 pm |
  5. Renarda Cager

    I am a 38 yr old black female from Atlanta, Ga. I participated in the early voting 4wks ago. i tell you it was the most amazing experience in my life besides child birth of my daughter. The poll workers were amazing. The vibe in the air was nothing more than a powerful positive change for the entire world to see in less than a month.this election will truly go down in american history as one of the greatest!!!! Change is truly coming!!!

    November 4, 2008 at 6:37 pm |
  6. Ayana

    I had the same voting experience this morning. This is my first time voting in New York City so I registered about six months ago and received my voter registration card about 3 months ago. I was very excited to vote, but when I got to the front of line I was told my name was not on the list, so I asked that they check again. Still no luck. Then we checked by my first name, nothing. Sadly, I had to fill out a paper ballot.

    On my way out I spoke to a few more people who had the same problem. Some of whom have voted at that location for years. I just don't understand why it's so hard to put names on a list.

    November 4, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  7. Dan

    Maybe men like you should stop being such enablers for their wives. I think It's this "you're right and I'm wrong" mind set that leads to so many issues between husbands and wives. It's not your fault and you never should agree or open the door for her to think or even act as though it is.

    November 4, 2008 at 6:31 pm |
  8. Saddened

    I'm sorry for your predicament. It must be difficult to be unjustly penalized by someone who has vowed to love, honor and obey you. But take heart! If your implied hopes come true, perhaps Obama can pass legislature mandating that some of your wife's complaints be directed elsewhere. Why should only the married man be blessed with bountiful nagging? Why should bachelors live without wondering whether or not they will have a quiet evening when they come home. Dare we belive that we have a choice? We should ALL share in our misfortunes and achievements. We are a social race are we not.

    November 4, 2008 at 6:05 pm |
  9. Annie Kate

    Gabe

    I don't quite see how its your fault but I'm sure your reasoning works for you. I just wonder how many people had the same problem as your wife did. At least they took a paper ballot from her.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    November 4, 2008 at 6:04 pm |
  10. Richard

    Amen. Luckily, when my wife and I moved, the county clerk automatically signed up both us when we were issued out new driver's licenses. Next time, move far enough away so that you are forced into more paperwork. 🙂

    November 4, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
  11. Liz

    First, the unfunny part of your story is that your wife may have been disenfranchised. This is a serious issue and something we need to fix in this country if we want to continue to call ourselves a representative democracy. She should have received a paper record of her re-registration and then have been permitted to vote in the normal way.

    Second, it is sexist to suppose that all married women expect their husbands to apologize for mistakes not of their making. That is ridiculous on both sides of the equation. If this is what it takes to keep peace in your marriage then that is a bad sign. She needs to accept responsibility for her actions and you for yours. Period.

    Finally, getting "furious" with the poll workers is also out of line. This is not their fault by any stretch of the imagination and her indigation and anger is misplaced. All of this set a very bad example for your daughter, by the way. Instead of a civics lesson she got two adults behaving like children.

    November 4, 2008 at 5:52 pm |
  12. Lee Merrin

    CNN is dedicated to keeping the election honest. It's harder to steal an election when CNN is playing watchdog over the nation. More and more "reject" voters know enough to ask for provisional ballots. Cheers for you, the Voter from all of us!

    November 4, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  13. Gary

    I agree with you. We have all heard of the book and theory about the "Six Degrees of Separation". I have started my own theory (and maybe someday a book) for the married man. It's called "Three steps to It's Your Fault". Of course it doesn't always take the full 3 steps.

    November 4, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  14. Don Walters

    Hopefully your wife's vote counts, as every American should have his/her vote count.

    That being said, who cares?

    I have an interesting story. I went to the polls and saw lots of signs supporting different people. I walked in and there were 3 people in front of me. I waited about 2 minutes. I got my ballot and was about to sit down when I noticed there was no where to sit. I waited for a while and when a woman in her 50s got up, I quickly replaced her so I could fill out my ballot. I voted on all the candidates and all of the amendments and propositions. I turned my ballot into the ballot box, walked out the front door, jumped in my car, and drove to work.

    November 4, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  15. Tyra

    Hi Gabe. I hate to agree with you and say that it is your fault...because it was not. My husband and I both have an understanding when it comes to civics, that each of us are individually responsible. I went on line to make sure my polling place had not changed and he did the same. I know as women, we like to have it all together, but sometimes we drop the ball. Its better to admit it that blame someone else. I hope you guys get along well tonight because in the big picture, all that really matters is that she voted and it counts!

    November 4, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  16. Thysongbird

    LOL, you truly understand women. Congratulations!
    Now if I could just get my husband to join the club.

    November 4, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
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