I was intrigued by the other day’s story about the Republican effort nationwide, but especially in Ohio, to recruit 3,600 “Election Monitors”. They’ll be paid $100 to go to heavily Democratic Polls and challenge anyone they feel shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Sadly, Democrats will have them, too, and the race is on to see which can come up with the most. Ostensibly, you should be challenged if:
1) You’re not a citizen of the US
2) You haven’t lived in the precinct long enough
3) You’re trying to vote more than once
4) You’re registered to vote some where else (Did anyone think of the possibility that Sproul et. Al. might have been intentionally contributing to a centralized database those that they have dually registered as Democrat and Republican? Could not this be used to produce a precinct specific printout with which to challenge and throw them out of either or both sites on Election Day? They may also go so far as to challenge absentee votes with this list. Just a thought.)
I’d love to be a fly on the wall at the training session these monitors will go through. How do you spot someone breaking one of these rules by just looking at them? Could it be that skin color might be related to breaking these rules? Could you tell by the style and fit of someone’s clothes? How about their accent? Could all of these things be also related to Party Affiliation? Hmmm…
Want to have some fun and do your part to promote the Democratic Process? The Dood is very much into creative civil disobedience.
If you’re interested, here’s what you do, and best of all, none of it’s illegal! First, go ahead and vote early. Don’t you feel better? Now, here’s where the fun begins!
Realistically, this should probably only be undertaken by a college student or somebody unemployed who can afford a big chunk of time on Election Day. Or, maybe you’ve got great working hours, are on vacation, or feel strongly enough about this to call in sick. At any rate, what you need to do is dress the part of someone who shouldn’t be allowed to vote. “What’s that look like? “, you ask. Surprise! Trick statement! Wear anything that you like and are comfortable in! Maybe a business suit, a uniform, old jeans, sweats, whatever…
Now that you’re decked out in your preferred dissident garb, practice up on your best foreign accent; if you know another language, even better; and an A+ if you know some Farsi!
When you’ve got your accent down cold, head to a precinct of your choosing. It’s probably best not to use the one that you voted in a few days earlier. What you’re going to do is get in line to vote, although we both know you’re not really, because that’s illegal. Try to look around and spot the “monitors” who are present. When you’ve identified them, strike up an innocent conversation with a person you’re standing in line with, making sure the monitor is watching and within earshot.
Try something along the lines of, “I cannot notice your baby is being such lovely!” or, “This is a fine coat of leather that you are wearing. The temperature must be good of this.” or, “This excitement of the vote is wonderful!” I think you get my drift.
Try a few lines like this to attract the monitor or monitors. Hopefully they will step up to challenge you. If not, and it looks like you might actually be given the opportunity to vote again, simply fake a sudden violent coughing spell or something and leave the line.
If they challenge you, this is how I would envision it going:
Monitor: “Sir (or Maam) I’m an election monitor and I’d like to ask you a few questions.
Monitor: “Where do you live?”
You: “I am America! America number one! Go OOSA!”
Monitor: “No, what street do you live on?”
You: “Yes, I have fine apartment!”
Monitor: “Can I see some identification?”
You: (becoming a little indignant and paranoid) “I am freedom American! I vote here!”
Monitor: “I’m going to have to ask you to step out of line …”
This should be causing a bit of an embarrassing scene about now for everyone! Now it’s time for the climax of your little civil disobedience morality play… As the monitor or monitors are trying to shepherd you out, or towards an elections official this is where you exclaim loudly for all to hear:
“I must allow to casting vote for George Kerry! George Kerry for leader! I America number one!” (Or, alternatively, John Bush! John Bush! If you prefer)
Watch as the monitors from each party squirm and try to figure out which candidate you mean, and whether they’re disenfranchising one of their own by making you leave. Who knows, you might be able to incite a tussle amongst the monitors!
If you really enjoy this street theatre, you can change and refine it throughout the day, and try it at multiple precincts. The end result is that wherever you perform, it will take the monitors an hour or so to get over being flustered by you, thus giving everyone the right to vote without intimidation during that time. And the monitors should be happy as they have unknowingly stopped you from possibly voting a second time!
If you’ll notice, I mentioned nothing at all about skin color in this little exercise. This is, by all rights, an equal opportunity stunt. But I dare say, sadly, that you will be more likely at success if your skin is darker in color!