Can I register to vote here?

I was watching TV the other night and saw and ad about the deadline to register to vote for this year’s elections. It made me think of the times I’ve registered to vote. Yes, times. I’ve had to register to vote twice.

For me, voting is such an important privilege and  something not to be taken lightly or for granted, especially as a woman. I find it sad when more people vote for American Idol or other reality TV shows and not in the election of officials who are going to govern their state and country. I ask myself which is more important, but I’m the only one who can decide for me. It’s just like I choose read up on candidates and issues to make informed decisions when voting, rather than just going along with how the whole family votes, what the popular people think, or who the neighbor’s baby picks during the televised debates (I remember a professor in college talking about this in college).
But, to each his or her own.
My point is – register to vote, inform yourself and vote because it does impact your life (and you never know when you’ll get an interesting story out of it)…

<stepping down off soap box>

Back to the whole topic of the blog…. “Can I register to vote here?”

The first time I registered I was in high school and not quite 18. I was able to register early because I would be the legal age by the time the elections rolled around. It was exciting in the fact that I was able to register and my friends were sitting at the table doing the whole process, but it was pretty uneventful. I found it pretty thrilling to finally be able to vote that first time (and I still do).

All throughout college & grad school I tried to make sure that I had an absentee ballot whenever I wasn’t going to be in Ohio to vote. I tried to do my duty. And then when I became a Massachusetts resident back in Fall 2004, I realized I needed to fulfill my duty again, but needed to figure out where the heck I could register to vote. I’m sure I could have done it at the RMV, but I don’t like to spend more time than I need to there since it always seems to be a zoo. I’m sure I could have figured it out online, but I was waiting for the bus outside the Coolidge Corner Arcade Building and saw a magical sign that said the Women’s League was registering people to vote that Saturday. Pay dirt! All I had to do was roll out of bed, walk down the street, fill out a form and POOF!, I’d be a registered voter in the good ol’ Commonwealth of Massachusetts (sorry Ohio).

Now, I had an idea of where I was going and what was going to happen.

Ha.

In my mind I would have walked into the Arcade and seen a table with a bunch of ladies sitting around, registering people to vote. Maybe someone outside would have been handing out fliers or talking to people, encouraging them to register if they haven’t. Something like what might have happened right after the Women’s Suffrage movement. Maybe not so much in the dress of way back when, but something more modern. It would all be very exciting. Sometimes I wonder about my imagination. <shakes head at self>

What really happened? I walked into the Arcade and didn’t see anyone sitting at a table. I walked around for bit, peering into businesses as to not look like a crazy person. Eventually I went back outside to look at the sign to make sure I was in the right place at the right time. Yup, right place, during the right time. But WHERE exactly do I register?!?!??!!?

I was determined to register to vote, so I looked around some more and eventually found a sign and followed breadcrumbs up to the 2nd floor to the door in which the sign said that’s where the registration was taking place. So I opened the door….

Only to see a wall of adult toys (yes, those kinds of adult toys), along with a gentleman, his lady friend and a store clerk discussing said adult toys.

Ummmm….

You could say I was a bit confused and very unsure if I was in the right spot. I’ve helped prepare for a few bachelorette parties in my day and have had to go into a few choice establishments, although this store was not like the places on 77 in WV, that’s for sure. I wasn’t horrified or shocked, but very confused to be in a lady-friendly porn store when all I was trying to do was register to vote. (Let’s all remember my original idea of what was going to happen….. Lesson to be learned: Let go of the expectations)

Thankfully the lady behind the counter was quick to ask if I needed help, to which I responded “Is this where I can register to vote?”

The answer was yes, and so I was on my way to being a registered voter again!  Yay!

And that’s how I registered to vote…. in a lady-friendly adult store in Coolidge Corner.

Just in case you aren’t registered to vote, or know someone who isn’t, here are some resources for you so you too can register and vote:

http://www.rockthevote.org/

http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Voting/Register.shtml

How’d you register to vote?

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5 thoughts on “Can I register to vote here?

  1. Awesome story! I can’t even remember how I registered to vote (either time). They must have been uneventful.

    I am soooo happy you call out that you’re sad when more people vote for American Idol instead of for our elected officials! This pains me too. Look around the world — people are fighting everywhere for freedom. They want to have a say in who governs their own countries. We HAVE these freedoms and the ability to vote is part of that – it is a privilege!

    • You probably registered the same way I did the first time – in the cafeteria with Tim & Matt behind the table, reveling in it all.

      I’d be fascinated to see the stats on the people who vote for shows like American Idol — what are the ages of those voting, initial votes vs. multiple votes, are the people voting registered to vote in elections. I think that there’s a great opportunity for one of these shows to partner with Rock The Vote or some other non-partisan entity that registers voters and provides quality information for voters so they can make informed decisions. It could really make a difference.

  2. Fortunately, new citizens have it easier than this — after my citizenship ceremony, there were dozens of helpful people standing around with forms and pens at the ready.

    The citizenship ceremony itself was… not the way Angela would have organized it. It was the biggest one they had ever done (1700 people) so they were super-concerned to avoid long lines. So they staggered the arrival times of the participants. My specified arrival time was 9.30am. Of course I arrived at 8.45; little did I know that the judge was planned to arrive at 2pm. There were 1700 people plus families, many with little kids, waiting for between 2 and 5 hours — with no entertainment or food. The 7/11 next door had a line around the block.

    Angela would have done it better. But anyway, now I am a citizen AND registered to vote.

  3. I love that the voting registration station was in an adult-toy store. That is *hilarious*. (and I suspect I know which store it was, too…)

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