The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

28 October 2004

Welcome to Queue Gardens

Wait in line at the polls? The New York Times says "Lines that make voters wait for hours are a national disgrace, particularly for presidential elections. They discourage participation, particularly by the poor and infirm."

To which Matt replies:

[I]f voting is our most precious and sacred right, I really can't see that losing a few hours of Jerry Springer time every two years is an extraordinary hardship. Being beaten, shot or blown up, that would be a hardship and require "urgent" reform. For god's sake, people in this country wait in line three days for a stupid movie premiere, or concert tickets or a football game, and the New York Times thinks that a minor delay before you can cast your ballot constitutes a crisis?

This is my first Big Election in this precinct, and I have no idea how long it will take. Four years ago, where I used to live, I got to the polls about twenty minutes before they opened and was gone eight minutes later. I recall that in 1996, I showed up after work and spent about an hour or so in line. If this is some sort of hardship, I fail to see it.

And besides:

How is waiting a couple of hours to exercise your voting rights harder on a poor person than a non-poor person? Should we have express lanes set up and require people to bring a statement of income? Everyone under 20K per year gets to zip through. Seriously, you want to talk about lines and waiting, take a look at some of the pictures from election day in Afghanistan. Suck it up, NYT, democracy isn't free. Sometimes it costs one some time.

I've never considered the time wasted, even when, as is often the case, I've voted for a bunch of people who struggled to come in second.

Posted at 7:36 PM to Political Science Fiction

Thanks! At least one person agrees with me.

Posted by: Matt at 7:46 PM on 28 October 2004

Make that at least two. But probably many more.

Posted by: Dan & Angi at 7:52 PM on 28 October 2004

In 1980, my wife and I lived in Garland, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Our voting precinct was one of the fastest growing in the nation. This population growth had not been anticipated nor planned for in the election process.

We got to the polling place -- an elementary school, as I recall -- around 6:00 p.m., only to find that the line of voters numbered at least 1,000. We stood in line over 3 hours to vote (it took two hours just to get to the school building itself, where the line then wound up and down the halls and through the library), and I don't recall seeing anyone bail out before casting their vote. Obviously, the normal voting hours were extended to accommodate everyone in line at the normal closing time. We got out in time to hear voting projections announced for CALIFORNIA.

I have no sympathy for those who won't commit 20 or 30 minutes to exercising their right to vote.

Posted by: Eric at 9:40 PM on 28 October 2004

I love the relaxed rules for early votin' here in Texas. I voted already on Monday. I would have voted one day last week but I came down with the flu and was too sickly to do so. I tol' a lot of people, after I got better, to get out and vote early, as well, 'cause it would be a real pity if they came down with the flu or somethin' on election day and were not able to get out and vote. Do it now, I said, no need to wait. 'Course, then I would advise them to vote for me and good ol' George.

Posted by: Tig at 9:48 PM on 28 October 2004 seems to be about right

Posted by: Aniwarp at 2:35 AM on 29 October 2004

Personally, I think lines that make a person wait longer to get through security at an airport than they spend on the plane waiting for clearance to take off, are a national disgrace.

Even though I now avoid airports as much as possible, I still put up with that crap are damn sight more often than I am called upon to vote.

If the editors at the New York Slimes are so bothered by the lines to vote, I have a suggestion for them.

Posted by: McGehee at 6:47 AM on 29 October 2004