Femme FATale

maddow mania & the new poll tax
November 4, 2008, 12:45 pm
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if you’re not twitter friends with me and this little blog crew of ours, you should know that we’ve all got maddow mania. as a regular viewer of rachel maddow’s show and as someone obsessed enough to make her my desktop background, there is no denying she’s the handsome. she’s also incredibly smart though (i do prefer my butches with brains) and passionate about progressive politics (also a requirement. applicants, take note!). so smart and so passionate that if you’re even thinking *for one second* that you can’t afford to spend the time and effort in line waiting to vote today, you need to watch rachel explain how waiting and inaccessibility have become the new polling tax meant to disenfranchise you.

watch. get angry. and then go vote if you are physically and financially able to do so…though i can’t believe i even have to type that. voting should be accessible to everyone. arrrg. seriously. go watch the maddow, stealer of queer hearts everywhere!

at 8:23am CST today, i voted.
November 4, 2008, 10:54 am
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for the 2004 presidential election, i was living in washington, d.c. and working at a women’s political action committee that raised money for the campaigns of progressive, pro-choice women candidates across the country. from the start of 2003 to the day after the election when john kerry conceded to george w. bush, i lived, breathed, slept politics. part of it was because i loved it, was excited about and part of it was because even if i wanted to completely hide from it, living in d.c. during a presidential election cycle makes that an impossible feat. i loved my job, enjoyed the work i did, saw where raising a few thousand dollars online and in the mail made a difference on the ground to campaigns struggling against conservative incumbents. still, i was working 60 hours a week and getting paid for 40 on my $25,000 salary in one of the nation’s most expensive cities.

when kerry conceded the election the day after election day, i sobbed uncontrollably in the conference room with my co-workers. kerry was ok, far from my favorite, but frankly, a candidate for the u.s. presidency who has politics as left/radical as i do will probably never see the ballot. still, i wept, disappointed, overworked, and exhausted. i left d.c. about eight months later to spend a month or two in jersey with my family during my dad’s first cancer surgery before moving out to minneapolis for school. washington, my job, that last election had drained me. i still cared, obviously, but i didn’t want to talk about what had happened and where we’d be four years from then.

with this a big part of my very young voting, living history, it took me a while to get excited about this election. i’ve liked barack obama since i saw him speak live on the floor at the 2004 democratic convention in boston, but i was afraid to put my heart into this. even all of the stories and youtube videos forwarded to me over the last year or two failed to tug at my heartstrings that are usually more than willing to be tugged into producing a teary-eyed, sentimental hussy red. not this time. i’m sad to write that i’m so jaded at only 27, but i find faith in that two weeks ago, my heart finally kicked itself into alignment with my brain who was going to vote no matter what. better late than never, old heart of mine.

so on only three hours of sleep, with not even a shower, let alone a drop of make-up (usually unheard of for this high-maintenance-and-proud-of-it femme), i left my apt. at 6:30am this morning to stand in the chilly minnesota morning for over an hour, with literally *hundreds* of other folks up that early, to go and cast my vote for: barack obama and joe biden for president/vice president; al franken for u.s. senate; keith ellison for u.s. representative – district 5; state representative – district 60a, margaret anderson-kelliher; mpls school board, carla bates, lydia lee, and sharon henry-blythe; associate justice to the state supreme court, paul h. anderson; seat 16 on the judicial court of appeals, terri j. stoneburner; seat 9 on the 4th district court, philip d. bush; seat 53 on the 4th district court, jane ranum; and the soil and water supervisor of district 3, james wisker.

now it’s your turn:

progressive voting guides; these go state-by-state! click here to access full lists of who is running, who lines up with your politics, and why you should or shouldn’t vote for a particular candidate

– if you’re in the twin cities, here’s the link to ballot information composed by young/pissed off voters. this isn’t an excuse to not do your homework, but it does help to guide you. props to my girl becky for sending this to me weeks ago! xo!

– at least in the state of minnesota, you *are* allowed to bring yourself in a cheat sheet of sorts. this might seem obvious for many, but is unclear to some old and new voters.

find out where you vote and get there before the polls close.

– be diligent and report voting difficulties that seem like fraud and/or attempts that keep you or others from the polls. take this number with you to report issues from the scene: 1-866-VOTE-411.

– when you can, vote on a paper ballot. sure, this is slightly archaic and yes, the scanner you insert your paper ballot into can be rigged and tampered with or produce it’s own errors as much as voting machines can, but at least with paper ballots, there is always (if they don’t go missing! ahem!) a paper trail.

enough with the preaching, you all know what to do. in 2004, the election was decided by a mere handful of votes. don’t be complacent and think we’ve got this just yet. now go listen to j. smooth of illdoc who always says it way better than most others ever can: