As some of you may know, I have been blogging about my adventures in voting over the last week, while also pointing out some of the problems others are having casting their vote in the city of Nashville. I was denied the right to vote on Wednesday, and after gathering up all my information, I went back Saturday to vote again. I decided to go to the same early voting site to see if I would have problems again, and lo and behold, the site gave me major problems this time as well. On a positive note, I was allowed to vote. On a negative note, it took roughly 35 minutes after waiting in line to argue my way to the voting machine. Below the squiggly I will let you all know what happened this time!
My husband voted on the first day of early voting on Wednesday. This was the day that they gave me problems with my ID and I decided to leave and come back once I gathered up all the information. My husband escorted me back to the site on Saturday and I proceeded to wait another 30-45 minutes in line to cast my vote. Once I was directed to the sign in booth, I discovered that I had the same older, white woman that had given me so many problems when I last tried to vote. This time though, I was prepared. I put down my voter registration card, my staff ID from the state university, my most recent paycheck proving my address, and finally a print off from the secretary of state's website saying I could use a staff ID from a state university as proof of my identity. I even gave her my social security card for even more proof of my identity.
She looked at all my information skeptically and started thumbing through a book of state issued ID's. I glanced over at the book as she flipped through, and noticed that no examples of state university staff ID's were in the book. She took even further issue that my ID said "Staff/Student." She seemed shocked that you could be both on the staff of a university and be a student. Guess she'd never heard of graduate students in her life that often work as adjuncts and take courses at the same time. She then said she was going to call and verify that I could vote with the election commission. I said fine. She called and the person gave the okay, but she didn't stop. She then began to grill me on what I did at the university, even though under Tennessee law the ID could be expired, so I didn't technically have to do anything currently at the university. She then asked if she could take a copy of my ID, also giving me the idea that if I didn't allow that I would not be allowed to vote. I said okay. She didn't ask for copies of anyone else in line's ID...just mine. At this point I felt horrific, as if by trying to vote, I had to first prove that I was not some election stealing criminal. Mind you, I haven't missed an election in ten years, but obviously because I got married and hadn't changed my name on my state license and had to use another form of ID I was suspect.
She finally let me vote but that was not before I heard her disenfranchising another voter! This woman had moved recently from one part of the county to another. She told her she could change her address today, but would have to come back on election day to vote. THIS IS NOT TRUE IN TENNESSEE! If you have only moved within the county, you can change your address at early voting and go ahead and cast your ballot. She had told me she had been doing this since before I was born, but obviously she was inept. I recorded her name, booth number, the time, the date, and also was able to get a witness to what she did to me, as well as the information from the voter that had been disenfranchised with the address change. I took the information to the Tennessee Democratic Party headquarters down the street and they will be sending out poll watchers to this site for the rest of the early voting period. Hopefully, when I follow up with the election commission, we can also get this woman out of that job. She's horrific and needs to go!
10:50 AM PT: Thank you all for making this diary a recommended one. I think the message needs to get out there that voter intimidation isn't just occurring in swing states but across the board.
5:50 PM PT: Did my first volunteer stint at the Tennessee Democratic Party. Plan on doing quite a bit more. Keep it up everyone. Thank you for spreading the word!