Everyone who knows me knows that I have been pretty passionate about everything that's been happening in (um...to) Wisconsin since January 2011, and part of that passion has been trying to engage my 18 year-old and her friends in the political process. And it's working! They not only have been listening to me go on and on (and on and on) about what's happening to our state, but they have asking questions, sharing opinions, and watching political news, and the ones who were of age to do so, voted on June 5th. I was so pleased and proud of all of them - and I could tell they were pretty pleased and proud of themselves, happily wearing their "I voted!" stickers the rest of the day. Hell, we even took pictures!
So can you imagine their disappointment when I told them their votes weren't showing up yet? Mine is, their parents' are...for weeks now. But theirs aren't.
When my daughter turned 18 in February, I took the afternoon off so I could take her to get her Official for Voting-And-Everything-Else State-issued Wisconsin ID...the free one. I was half expecting that she would be given a hard time because of the earlier controversy about it but, much to my surprise, the friendly young woman at the reception desk was quite accommodating. When I told her it was my daughter's birthday and we were there for her ID, she perkily wished my daughter a Happy Birthday and asked for her name. Even more to my surprise, just seconds later she handed my daughter a numbered ticket with her name on it; the DMV already had her in their system. No forms to fill out, no birth certificate to show, no social security number to confirm...just a verbal name and a match was found. I found that interesting, given she'd never applied for an ID before and didn't have a driver's license. No criminal record, either. But, I shrugged it off as a nice convenience and we moved on, leaving less than 15 minutes later with her temporary paper ID; soon she'd have a real plastic ID and ready to cash checks and vote!
Yeah, I should have known better. I forgot we were in Fitzwalkerstan.
Her ID showed up as expected, about 2 weeks later. The paper ID, though a nice thought, was often more a hassle than helpful in the meantime. People who need to see ID - say, to pick up a Western Union wire transfer (Happy Birthday, Love Dad!), or to cash a check (Happy Birthday, Love Grandma!) weren't aware that these temporary paper ID's existed and hesitated to proceed (actually, just gave her a hard time)...at least, when she was by herself. (It's amazing how they change their tune when Mom walks in and demands to see the manager if the not going to accept daughter's STATE ISSUED temporary ID. Yeah, I'm that kind of mom. :) So, not only had DOT initially tried to make getting the free ID's difficult, but they also seemed to have failed pretty miserably at notifying the public - businesses - that require IDs for transactions. It made me wonder how voting would go for people who had to use those.
But my daughter did have her Official for Voting-And-Everything-Else State-issued Wisconsin ID on June 5th, so we went together to our polling place to vote. When we got there, she was directed to the table for new voters; I proceeded to vote, being a registered and active voter for years, and was done before she even finished filling out the registration form. I was there when she was showing her Official for Voting-And-Everything-Else State-issued Wisconsin ID, and with her when she took her ballot, and I watch when she marked her candidate and put the ballot into the machine. So, no one - NO ONE - can tell me she didn't vote. The same is true of her boyfriend, who was also a first-time voter but in a different ward. I took my friend, also a long-time registered voter, to yet another ward, where she had to update her address before voting. I watched each of them vote, but NONE of their votes are showing up yet.
Now, my friend is quite capable of advocating for herself and has already gone and gotten a copy of her registration; she is pursuing a copy of her actual ballot. She's a bit ticked off (to put it mildly) and is not playing. But my daughter and her boyfriend would like some assistance, so you can bet John Doe's ass I'll be leading the way in their pursuit to find their votes. I'm curious if, when my daughter went to get her ID she didn't have to prove her identity first, that has anything to do with why her vote isn't showing up yet. We voted at the same time, at the same polling place. According to the clerk's office in Madison, votes are entered into the Voter Public Access database ward-by-ward. So where the hell are their votes? And how many others are "missing", too? And of them, I wonder how many of those voters were poor, elderly, young, or an ethnic minority. And I'd like to know just how many were for Barrett and Mitchell.
Have you checked on your vote? Do you know any new-voters and if they have checked their votes? I encourage everyone to do so (after every election!), and anyone whose vote isn't showing up and would like to share their voting experience with me, I'd love to hear from you.
Regardless, we'll be looking into where their votes are and will report back what we find out...and more. LOTS more.