Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
REDIRECT ALERT!(Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)
Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.
This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough::
So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Poll Violence Erupts
Possumblog News Service
TRUSSVILLE, AL (PNS) This morning marked the opening of polls around the state of Alabama, and violence quickly became the order of the day as mobs of angry voters were forced to stand in three lines outside of Trussville City Hall.
Tempers flared as one of the swinging doors to the polling place could not be propped open with a brick, and an urn full of sand and cigarette butts had to be moved slightly so that it was forced to hold open two doors. Members of the crowd were overheard commenting on the lack of a doorstop, which seems to be a symbol of this referendum.
Further anxiety was caused when a poll worker placed a series of signs outside, ostensibly to direct the flow of voters into the building, but angry words were surely being muttered in the minds of many when they noted that one sign read "H-N", while the next read "M-Z". One furious voter, his anger barely contained behind a facade of detached calm, noted to this reporter that M comes before N in the alphabet.
Once the attempt at disenfranchisement was uncovered, the poll worker quickly changed the sign to read "O-Z", possibly averting a riot.
Several voters laughed, bitterly, the bitterness part and parcel with a process that seemed destined to become a quagmire. One older voter told this reporter he had been standing in line for at least 7 minutes, and had only been able to shuffle ahead approximately five feet. The seething anger of the crowd, although masked by an outward show of calm and friendliness, bodes ill for what many insist on calling the 'democratic process'.
Once inside the polling place, the chaos was compounded by voters having to show identification to poll workers. One woman forgot her driver's license, and had to make the long march back to her vehicle parked next door, completely without assistance. Although the scene might have appeared orderly to many unsophisticated observers, it was obvious that mistakes had been made and were being allowed to fester--this reporter himself witnesses that at least two of the pencils on the table were not properly sharpened.
Police presence was heavy, probably one of the factors leading to the level of unrest among the people. The sheriff's deputy, a menacing form with a dark, large-caliber semi-automatic pistol at his side, stood along one wall by the vote counting machinery, chatting with a little old woman. She was seemingly unafraid that he could have arrested her and thrown her into jail.
Voters were given a 'ballot' and told to mark it--this reporter examined one sample and was beyone belief at it sheer complexity, with its use of nouns, and verbs, and punctuation. Further, it seemed purposely designed to squelch open debate, in that is only offered two choices, 'yes' or 'no'.
Attempts to confuse voters were evident also from the fact that the yes and no choices were one atop the other on the printed page, and the method of marking the choice was to take a writing instrument, called a 'pen', and darken in a small oval to the side of the choice with ink. The ovals were so small that only the most dextrous voters could manage to use their 'pens' to mark the oval without going outside of its borders.
After 'voting', the angry and sullen voters would march over to one of two electronic boxes and insert their ballots. These 'computers' supposedly count the marked spaces on the ballot, but many voters probably were thinking that their gesture was futile in the face of the widespread lawlessness and corruption. [...]
Oh, it was busy this morning--looked like a good turnout, and it was good to see that the renovation work on City Hall due to the floods is about complete. I always enjoy going to vote--I don't think it's going to be anywhere close to passing, but no matter what, I still like standing there and listening to everyone visit and catch up on gossip, and telling the little lady my name, and signing the roll, and marking the paper, and feeding it through the machine.
If you live here, be sure and go vote today. If you're registered, and active, and have some identification, that is. One lady didn't realize she was on the inactive list, so she didn't get to vote. And as I spoofed it above, one girl in front of me in line had apparently been living under a rock and had not heard that you had to bring some kind of identification with you to the polls. She seemed a bit peeved. The guy behind me kinda mumbled that he thought everyone knew you needed your ID by now, and I told him he might better not let her hear him say that. She was sorta on the largish side, you know. posted by Terry at