November 4th, 2008
06:28 PM ET

Life as a provisional voter

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Paul Varian
CNN Senior Executive Producer

I've just found out what a provisional voter is - me.

When I went to vote at City Hall in Avondale Estates, Ga. (pop. 2,600), I was greeted by the same friendly faces I see election after election - the volunteers, mostly retirees, who make sure everything goes like clockwork. And it always does.

There were no long lines - quick in, quick out. But when my turn came, I was told I had already voted on Sept. 25 at one of Dekalb County's two or three early voting centers.

In fact, that was not the case. But that's what the records showed. My precinct guy called the county and they had it in black and white - somebody using my name apparently had cast a ballot in person under the early voting procedures in place in many parts of the country. Or my vote was somehow recorded by mistake.


Filed under: 2008 Election • Paul Varian
October 23rd, 2008
09:00 AM ET

If the car breaks down and the dealer is shut down, what next?

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Paul Varian
CNN Executive Producer, "The Row"

The national economic crisis has now hit home for me.

My 1999 Dodge Intrepid has been in the shop at the nearest Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership, newly opened within the last two years. I've had good service there but now I need a major engine overhaul and the chief mechanic was trying to get Chrysler to pick up the tab for the engine.

I've been driving a rental car for the past 12 days and had started to look for a new car. I decided to return the rental car today because I was afraid I was going to get stuck with that fee, which had just reached $400. I decided to swing by the dealership on the way to get an update on my Intrepid - and maybe pick up a loaner - but couldn't get in.

It was under padlock, shut down by court order. I'm assuming it's gone belly-up, just as a Chevrolet dealership chain in the Atlanta area had a few weeks ago. There was a name and phone number taped on the door for customers to call. I’ve called repeatedly but keep getting one of those recordings about all circuits being busy.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Paul Varian