Tuesday, August 04, 2009

My Vote is Really Absentee: "Hot Case" Cold

Boo Hoo. No Vote

Ted and I just saw the rather mediocre movie "Swing Vote" in which a good-hearted but dopey drunk (Kevin Costner) ends up casting the deciding vote in a presidential race. Who did he pick? Kelsey Grammer or Dennis Hopper (Dennis Hopper??? Man, he's the one for me...delicious to imagine). Anyway, we were supposed to get the message that every vote counts. Okay, I get it.

Mine didn't. I really wanted to vote for Dayne Walling, the kid Rhodes Scholar whose mother I've known for about 25 years, for Mayor of Flint today. I really wanted to vote in favor of a millage for a hospital that serves the poorest people of Flint. i really wanted to vote for a gay friend who used to be my neighbor at Sylvester Manor for City Council.

But I'm in LA, where at the moment, for example, some guy is going up and down 26th Street with a cart, yelling "tamale tamale tamale" and the guy downstairs has his woodfire grill going in the driveway for an al fresco dinner facing the harbor. It's a long way from what we used to call Buick City. I love both of my locales, but it's Flint that rouses my political passions most -- it's been a long hard trudge, still very much in progress, for the city to pull itself up out of misery. Increasingly, I care about that. I want vindication for GM's abandonment. I want the people who are left, hanging on to whatever they can of grace and hope, to get some reliable goodness.

So anyway, before I left Flint I sent in my request for an absentee ballot -- it was received June 26. Never got the ballot. Until today. Election Day. In my mailbox in San Pedro. It arrived at 11 a.m. PST, 2 p.m. Eastern, giving me six hours to file my vote.

Though I'd essentially given up hope before today, I placed a call to Gloria Boone in the Flint City Clerk's office. Of course she told me I was out of luck with no options. But I continued the conversation. Let's see, it was my fault that I submitted from an online form -- that is "not normal," Ms. Boone told me. I mistakenly sent it to the County Clerk's office. They sent it to the Flint City Clerk's Office (receipt stamp July 7) but apparently it was mixed up in a pile of voter registration documents. I should have checked -- didn't I wonder what had happened? So basically it was my fault. However. my envelope was postmarked July 31...how could anybody have turned this around that fast? Before I got Ms. Boone, another worker told me they hadn't received the ballots until last week. So I'm wondering if my complaints and the series of gaffes were immaterial. Anyway, Ms. Boone said she resented that I was criticizing the City Clerk's office when "we are only human." Indeed. Very human.

I want new city government. I want something to work right. I want government officials to be nice to me and to do their jobs professionally. But at least this time around, I didn't get to say that with my vote.

I see the envelope had written on it "Hot Case." You can see that above. Huh. Right. By now it's stone cold.

P.S. Fortunately, early returns suggest Dayne Walling has a healthy lead, without my vote.

1 comment:

geewhy said...

I always vote absentee because the scene at my precinct in San Francisco has always been chaotic, to be polite. Then one year they found boxes of absentee ballots floating in the San Francisco Bay. It left me wondering if any of my votes had ever been counted. Just wanted to let you know Flint is not alone.