Kitty Felde |

Voting DC style

It's election day here in the District of Columbia.  I cast my first ballot as a DC resident.  I won't tell you who I voted for, but I will tell you the difference between voting in LA County and voting in the District.

First of all, you get a voter ID card in the mail.  You bring that to your polling place (in my case, the local gymnasium at the community center down the street) and hand it to the woman who checks your name on the register.  So far, just like LA County.  You get your choice of touch screen or paper ballot.  I chose paper, which was a hoot!  The ballot was about 11" x 14" in size and the ballot "envelope" was even larger!  And there were only about five things to vote for on the entire sheet.  You mark your choice in pencil - coloring in the circles just like you did on all those tests in high school.  But the bubbles were bigger for all those older folks who regularly vote.  After filling it out, you take it to a machine that looks exactly like a fax machine.  Like LA County's, it checks to make sure you didn't vote twice for the same office.  The machine sucks in the paper and drops it in the sealed box below.

But here's a major difference.  In California, "electioneering" is prohibited 100 feet away from the polling booth.  There were dozens of campaign signs, several campaign workers, even a van with a bull horn telling me why I should choose a particular candidate for mayor.  And all of them were a heck of a lot closer than 100 feet away from my polling station.   

This was the first time in years that I haven't reported on the election I was voting on.  And now I know what non-reporters feel like when they're faced with a ballot.  Confused.  I knew the mayor, our non-voting Congressional seat, and city council were on the ballot.  But then I was faced with an "at large" council race.  I didn't know any of the candidates.  And there was a race for a District representative.  I'm not sure I even know what a District representative is!  I assume it's like a County Supervisor.  Or maybe a state Assemblyman.  I left those bubbles blank and will do my homework more thoroughly before the next election.

I'd give myself a "C" as a first time DC voter.