Every now and then I am confronted with a reminder of just how much I don't miss certain parts of my hometown. After twice faxing and once mailing my request for my absentee ballot to the Crittenden County Clerk, and on the third phone call to their office, they finally seemed to get the hint that I want to vote. Of course, no one's really clear what it is that I do.
"Hi, my name is hannah draper, and I'm a resident of West Memphis who currently resides in Saudi Arabia. I have sent you multiple copies of my absentee ballot request. Can you confirm that you've received it?"
"Oh, honey, if you saw how big our stack of requests is, you'd know it'd take me all day to find yours."
"Um... this is kind of important. Can't you tell me if I'm going to get to vote?"
"We just got ballots in today and we're going to mail them next week."
"Yeah, but if you didn't get my request, it'd be too late for me to get a ballot if I have to wait until I don't get one. The APO mail system is kind of slow."
*heavy sigh* "Are you in the military?"
"No, I'm a diplomat. I'm a civilian, but I have an APO address."
*long pause* "Is your husband in the military?"
*tries to control blood pressure* "No, I'm not married. I'm a civilian - I work for the Department of State. I'm in the embassy here."
"Didn't I talk to you last week?"
"Yes, yes you did. I asked you to email me or to call my family in West Memphis when you received my absentee ballot request."
"Oh, looky here, we mailed you your ballot on Monday!"
"...but you just told me that you only got ballots in today."
"Right, but we had some already, we just got more today. Your ballot was mailed on Monday."
I just have to hope for the best, right? It's not like my vote will flip any of the federal or state-wide races in Arkansas; my district hasn't voted for a Republican congressman since Reconstruction, and no one seriously contests that McCain will win our electoral votes. Still, there's the downticket stuff that I do care about, and courtesy of good indoctrination as a child, I think I'd rather cut off my own arm than neglect voting.
By the way, if you're not following fivethirtyeight.com, you should be. One of the best polling information shops around. 538 and TPM are my guidebooks this season!