May 1, 2009 Comments (12)
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Here we go! I finally feel like a citizen and an adult. All the years I lived abroad and paid state and federal tax, I never got a say in the process. Now, finally, I feel like I actually belong. I had to fight for it ;D But I did vote!
So, you read about how I was sure they’d ripped up my application after I’d left when I went to register. I checked online but my name wasn’t on the list. My parents got their voter ID cards, I didn’t. But, with fingers crossed, I went to check the updated list at the polling station, anyway. And of course, they couldn’t find my name, so I had to go find the ‘building list’. After visiting seven local volunteer tables with their building lists, and a good darshan of the entire area, we located the list and my name wasn’t on it.
Enter my Knight on a Steel Horse – a volunteer went off on a motorcycle after making a few calls to actually get the ‘supplementary list’ of new registrants that all the booths were sharing. Twenty minutes later, he roared up to tell me I’d been registered as purush (male) but … I had a temporary voter ID! I could have hugged him!
I hightailed it to the polling station where the volunteers seemed genuinely happy I’d returned and could vote! Since I could prove with my presence and my state ID that I’m really not male, two hours, much sweat, lots of repetitive questions and only a few lines later, I had cast my first vote ever*. And it was such a high! I was psyched for hours after! If you haven’t voted before, I highly recommend it 😉
*I left India when I was 18. This is the first election since I’ve returned! Of course, the year I finally get to vote, they switch to inking the middle finger. I could have put in an obscene gesture but … eh, I’m more mature than that. 😉
March 5, 2009 Comments (23)
Bombay• Desh• Experience• me, myself & i• people• Photo • Bombay• democracy• election• frustrating• government• mumbai• nokia 6500• process• voting
Thank goodness this is only supposed to happen once in this lifetime. It was such a bad experience I’d be loath to wish it on an enemy! To start with, the registration location (“Badminton Hall”) was ridiculously hard to find and there was a lone policewoman trying to impose order outside. She did eventually let 10 people in at a time. Her directions about what to do inside were literally directions: “Turn right.” What I saw is what you see. And beyond these people were ceiling high stacks of paper. After waiting in two lines (once to receive a “number” – ward? Jaago Re neglected to mention this one) this absolutely rude woman said she couldn’t accept my PAN card as proof of my date of birth (regardless of what their web site says) and if “sir” said it was ok, she’d take the voter registration application. But “sir” flipped past the PAN card and fixated on my mobile phone bill as not being valid proof of address, instead. After raising my voice and demanding his name and ID number (to the absolute unconcealed delight of at least 300 people), I finally got them to accept my application and give me the counterfoil.
It didn’t seem to matter to them that they don’t make the decision about whether my application is accepted or rejected, they’re so used to playing God, they wouldn’t even take it! I was shaking with disbelief and anger about how difficult the bureaucracy makes it for even the people who DO want to vote. 🙁
All around me, people were being turned away for missing documents. There was someone in line ahead of me who’d returned for the fourth time! Why is the correct information not publicly available? And how can these officials be this rude to fellow human beings?