Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
A Los Angeles blog
from Echo Park

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Ballot box is broken

Elysian Heights Elementary--Superbowl Sunday behind us, it's Super Tuesday now. 9:30 a.m. It's not crowded at the poll, but people are coming and going, parking and pulling out of spaces, strolling to vote at the school, where handwritten arrows on 11x8 sheets of white point the way. Rosie the dog gets hitched to a school bench, and we go inside the classroom that's now a vote station. My neighbor Albert, who has been a worker at every election I've participated in, for the past ten or so years, is a noticeably absence. He died a few months ago at Echo Park Lake. It may be Super Tuesday, but on the classroom whiteboard there's neat, fancy lettering announcing "No Fun Friday" and below it some names of children scheduled to have no fun on Friday. (Better have fun today, then, kids.) So I go to the wobbly half booth and mark my vote for Obama and some of the ballot measures. Then I carry out the ballot. A woman standing next to the box reaches for my ballot, and unthinkingly I hand it to her. She puts it somewhere near her feet, presumably in a different, informal box. I look at the slot where the ballots are really supposed to go, and she says, "Oh, it's broken." I feel uneasy about the ballot being dropped near her feet, but I accept the "I voted" sticker she hands me as well as my vote stub. My daughter takes the "I voted" sticker. To her it's something special.

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