Thursday, November 1, 2018

Thursday Thoughts - Voting

It's been a difficult, tear-filled week here in Pittsburgh. That's all I can say, because every time I think about last Saturday, I start to cry.

Next Tuesday is Election Day. I have already voted, absentee ballot. The one time I went to a supposedly accessible voting place, it was a difficult experience and showed that what able-bodied people think is accessible is not, to wheelchair users, always truly accessible (and equal in terms of ease). I had to wait outside at the bottom of stairs at the front entrance of a school while they found someone to unlock a side door and then be escorted down a hallway, past students in class, to the voting area. The school auditorium was not particularly spacious and I've no idea how someone in a wheelchair larger than mine would have managed to maneuver through the aisle and into a voting space. A "helpful" voting volunteer person nearly took off the foot of my still recovering broken femur leg trying to assist me into the voting space. Then I got to find the person with the key again, be escorted down the hallway to the locked door and released out the side of the building again. Ever since, I've voted by absentee ballot.

The absentee ballot thing kind of ticks me off because it is on me to make sure I fill out an application form & mail it in (paying for a stamp) to request an absentee ballot by a deadline before every election. Then, the ballot arrives, and after voting, I have to again mail it back - again, at my expense - and do so by a deadline and it's not, if I recall correctly, that it must be post-marked by the deadline but that it must be received by the deadline. Just because I am disabled, I have to pay to vote. I realize this is ridiculous because 2 stamps do not cost much, but seriously, you shouldn't have to pay for stamps to vote in a democracy. The absentee ballot deadline for this election is tomorrow, so it had to be in the mail yesterday to guarantee it'd be delivered by tomorrow.

Of course, I do have the option to hand deliver my ballot to a building downtown, which means paying for parking, rolling through sometimes not easily accessible streets and questionable curb cuts and bumpy sidewalks, searching for the accessible entrance at a building built many, many years ago. I can't send someone there to return it for me, I must return it in person.

I can apply for a permanent disability absentee ballot but it's only good for 4 years - I guess permanent is defined as 4 years and not as remain unchanged indefinitely? I will always be in a wheelchair, so I'd have to remember every 4 years to re-apply AND with this application, I need to submit a signed physician's statement as well. So I need to make a doctor appointment or mail it in and wait for the doctor to mail it back. Every 4 years.

While I am on voting, has anyone else been getting mail from voter organizations detailing your Voting Report Card?! First, I received something from someone saying I'd been selected to participate in some voter survey after Election Day. Fine. I didn't pay much attention or save it. Then some voter organization mailed me something showing my Voter Report Card and telling me I am eligible to vote & whether or not I vote is a matter of public record. I started to feel stalked and annoyed and like they were trying to shame me.

Then yesterday the Center for Voter Information either for the third time or as a third organization mailed me my Voting Report Card, told me I am eligible to vote, and included a handy dandy chart showing the past 4 general elections, my name & address, 2 other addresses on my street (names & house numbers blacked out) and whether or not they voted - just so I could see how my voting participation compared with my neighbors!

I am so angry right now. I feel stalked and called out and bullied about my voting history. If they call me for some voting survey, I think I'm going to rip their heads off. I have voted in every single presidential election year since I turned 18 - my 18th birthday was on Election Day, so since the second I could vote, I did. I took the bus from my university to the polling place on my 18th birthday and voted. I voted via absentee ballot from Japan when I lived there.

But yes, I have missed voting in some non-presidential years because of what I just detailed in the above paragraphs. As a disabled person, it is a hassle to vote. SP says he thinks our voting place is OK and spacious enough, but he leaves early and stops on his way to work and I do not go with him because then he'd have to back-track to bring me home before going to work. He gets home too late to take me given when polling places close. So bring it on Voting Report Card people because I have some choice words for yinz.

And seriously, go vote on Tuesday, November 6.

What We're Eating:

What We're Watching:

  • We finished Season 3 of The Man in the High Castle. I can't wait for Season 4! That's all I'll say (no spoilers).
  • Halloween Baking Championship ended. Next up: Holiday Baking Championship.

What I'm Reading:
Magazines. Mom brought more over and new ones arrived. I'm now 3 Smithsonian Magazines behind. They are my new National Geographic, destined to pile up. I really like them, but they're so serious and fact filled that it takes me a very long time to get through them.

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