To the Editor:
I am being denied something that is rightfully mine: my vote. One might think that Florida, a state shunned by the nation in the last election and one that vowed to remedy its ills before 2004, would learn from its mistakes. In all fairness, much has changed since 2000. Jeb Bush and the government of my home state has replaced former Broward County Supervisor of Elections Miriam Oliphant; revamped the voting system to include electronic machines so we never have to hear about “hanging chads” again; and enacted early voting at City Hall in the 15 days prior to the election to ensure the votes of those who cannot make it to the polls on Nov. 2. For these steps in the right direction, they should be applauded.
But what about those of us who will not be in the state within the 15 days prior to Election Day? Absentee voting still remains the only option, a process illustrated as almost hassle-free for Yalies far from home in an article printed on Tuesday’s front page (“Yalies vote absentee despite challenges,” 10/27). As of today, however, 150,000 Broward County absentee ballots, mailed in two different October mailings, are nowhere to be found. Having requested my ballot online in September, I can only assume that my ballot is among those lost. I have repeatedly called the absentee ballot “hotline” at the Supervisor of Elections’ office, listened to the phone ring about 30 times with no answer and no voice mail. My parents called another office and actually talked to a person. They were told that a ballot was FedEx-ed to me on Monday, but I am still sitting here feeling rather disenfranchised. And I’m not the only one. A friend from Ohio, who also has not received her ballot, told me a similar tale.
If the events of 2000 had not transpired, I would be upset that I did not get to vote in my first presidential election, but not irate. Election 2000 proved to us the importance of a single vote, especially in Florida. I’ve even considered flying home this weekend to early vote, but only if I could convince Broward County election supervisors to pay for my expenses. Seeing as they can’t even manage to mail out a ballot correctly, that’s not exactly a feasible option. Voting is my right, so, Jeb, if you don’t want another election scandal, where’s my ballot?
Allison Walker ’07
Oct. 27, 2004
The writer is a production staffer for the News.