A polling place story

I tend to run hot and cold on blogging. I get all fired up about some issue and write a lot about it, and then I run out of steam and can’t come up with anything to talk about for awhile. In addition, the state of our country has just gotten downright depressing. It’s very hard to write positive stories in our times, and writing pieces that are critical of our government tends to put me in a bad mood. The upcoming elections reminded me of one of those depressing stories.

A few years ago, I was standing in line to vote at my polling place. Interestingly enough, a group of 6 people came in all at the same time to vote. It was interesting because our polling places are small and there are almost never lines. It was also interesting because the group of people were obviously mentally challenged.

The group was accompanied by several “guides”. I’m not sure what they would normally be called – helpers, assistants, nurses – but they were essentially there to “guide” this group of voters through the process. As I watched, they “guided” them through the check-in process all the way through voting and on to the ballot submission (we have machines that scan our ballots).

Now, obviously, they were eligible voters. They were registered voters. But there was no way that they were informed voters making rational decisions, on their own, as to how to vote. They had to be led individually through every step. There is no way they took it upon themselves to register to vote in the first place.

Now, normally, you would think this would not be an issue. In a world full of honest people, the helpers would be neutral. They would refrain from influencing the person they were helping. In the long run, the votes would be spread evenly across the ballots and would cancel each other out.¬†However, we don’t live in a perfect world. Some people aren’t honest, and many that ARE honest do things with good intentions that still aren’t the right thing to do.

So, I walked out of that polling place after casting ONE vote. Did those 6 other citizens cast their votes that day, or did 1 “guide” cast 6 votes? For their sake, I truly hope that the guide was honest and the voters were allowed to vote, regardless of how they voted. To steal their votes would have been more than illegal, it would have been immoral. It would have been taking advantage of the less fortunate, and that is never acceptable.

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