October 15th, 2004


Does this sound strange to you?

One of my co-workers (who, in the spirit of full disclosure, makes me look conservative in comparison) is very agitated over a postcard she got from DeKalb Co. Voter Registration and Elections. I'll share the text here:

"Dear Voter,

This is to inform you that the number of registered voters in your precinct is near capacity. After the recent court-ordered redistricting, we tried every way possible to secure new locations and reduce the number of voters at each precinct. However, your precinct remains one of the largest in DeKalb County with a history of long lines before and after work. Because of this, we want to encourage you to take advantage of a new law that allows "Advance Voting" in person, without providing a reason, the week prior to each Election. There will be 3 satellite locations in addition to the Office of Voter Registration and Elections. Monday through Friday, October 25-29, 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM for the Upcoming General Election.

North: Brook Run, 4770 North Peachtree Rd., Dunwoody

Central: Courthouse Annex #B170, 556 N. McDonough St., Decatur

South: S. DeKalb Police Precinct, 2853 Candler Rd., Decatur"

Erika and I have a couple of questions about this:

  • What's up with this "near capacity" stuff? I thought everyone had the right to vote; there isn't supposed to be a limit on the number of people allowed to vote. It's not like concert tickets; it's a right and a duty of all citizens.
  • The north side of the county is predominately white; the location given is a nice park. The south side of the county is predominately African-American; the location given is the police station. Does this sound similar to the intimidation tactics used in parts of Florida in 2000 to anyone else?
  • Erika doesn't recall problems with lines in the past. Why is this postcard trying to make voting sound so difficult and time-consuming? Is it a genuine desire to get people to the polls early (which, in my experience, is not that difficult once people know they have the option -- I think every member of my immediate family is voting early, and my mother and her best friend have already done so)? Or is it a suggestion that the lines are long, it's a big pain in the ass, and wouldn't you rather just stay home?

Perhaps I'm being overly paranoid, but these days I don't make any apologies for that.

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