Tough time voting (KS)
Kansas City Star. November 3, 2009. Lewis Diuguid, Kansas City Star Editorial Board Columnist
Voting shouldn't be so difficult - especially when only one issue is on the ballot.
A couple of weeks ago I went to the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners headquarters at 19th and Walnut to register using my new Northeast neighborhood address. Voting has always been a serious matter in my family, and I never want to miss an election because of how I was raised to participate in our democracy.
A nice lady at the election board assured me that I was registering in time to be able to vote in Tuesday's election. Sure enough, I got a card in the mail last week at my new home letting me know the location of the polling place.
I went to 5108 St. John Ave., but the election officials couldn't find me anywhere in their books. They sent me to a trouble-shooter in another area of the big room. She searched her computer records.
I didn't exist - anywhere! I have been a registered voter first in Clay County and then in Jackson County since 1977 when I moved to Kansas City. I felt like screaming: "The devil with your lap top. Damn it, I do exist!"
I was advised to go downtown to vote because I couldn't even cast a provisional ballot in this costly, one-issue election. So I trucked back to the election headquarters. A nice guy took my driver's license and kept it quite a while trying to determine whether I was attempting to flimflam the system.
Nope. I am legit, he determined, and I was rightfully registered to vote at the St. John polling place. He gave me back my ID and told me to return to the other location and have the people there call him.
I got him to write his name and number down on a piece of paper and went back to the polling place. The kind folks there with little traffic at the polls called and determined that it was OK to let me cast a ballot.
They copied down the information from the card the election board mailed to me and let me vote. The election officials said they were amazed that I refused to give up in frustration and go away. I told them that's not how I am made.
But I wonder how many folks might just surrender and save themselves the aggravation and the costly trips in wasted time and gas just for our democracy.