OK, this will probably be the only political posting I make, I will keep it non-partisan, but I am not happy. In my non-work life I am quite political, but I will not mention my party affiliation because this really is not the correct forum. Because I moved in the past year, I needed to get my address changed, go to a different polling place, etc. A few months ago, I got my new voter registration cards in the mail. That is right, cards – plural. I did not pay too much attention to the cards, so today I grabbed one of them, signed it, then went to my polling place.
When I got there, I gave the volunteer my card, and she said “Good morning Mr. Shibo”. I have heard many, many different variations on my last name. It is not that complicated of a name, “Ski” as in the sport you do in the snow on a mountain, and “Bo” as in the thing you put on a gift wrapped box, or the first name of a person on the show Dukes of Hazzard. But this is the first time I herd it pronounced that way.
“That is Skibo”, I responded. Over the years, I have become accustomed to correcting people. It is also a good way of filtering out telemarketers (before the do not call list). If they don’t know how to pronounce your name, then chances are they are calling to sell me something.
“No, your last name is Shibo”.
OK, I am 30 years old. My name is the same I was born with. I think in 30 years I would know how to pronounce my own name (although, I was about 16 when I learned I was not spelling my middle name the same way it was on my birth certificate). I picked up the voter registration card, and there it was, spelled Shibo. I also just happened to bring the second voter registration card with me which had my name correctly spelled Skibo.
There was not much concern over the problem from the volunteer. I was just told that if next year I get two cards that I should call the voter registration office to correct it. She acted like it happens quite often (BTW, I am not blaming the volunteer for this). I could be dishonest here and try to vote with the other card, but I will not. How many other people will not be as honest? I could have had more than 2 cards sent to my address, and tried to go in to vote over, and over, and over. With all the reports of voter fraud in the news, something really needs to change to more uniquely tie a person to their vote. Of course people will complain about privacy if they were to require something like a fingerprint. But if Microsoft could develop something like this, and just store the fingerprint in a database that says that person voted, not that fingerprint belongs to Joe Smith, and he voted for X, then that would keep things a bit more orderly. Anything can be broken, and it is not guaranteed to work, but it is better than what we have now.
Of course this all starts with how I registered. My drivers license expired in June, so I had to get it renewed. Since my address changed, I figured I should do the whole “Motor-Voter” signup. In late July I got a letter in the mail stating that I did not provide a photo ID when I signed up. I was getting my license renewed, which had my photo on it. Because I looked a bit different than my last license, I also brought along my Passport and showed that as more proof. They took my picture there for the license, so how could I not have provided ID? And if that information was not good enough to establish my ID, then how valid is the picture on my license?
Even through all this, it is important that you get out and vote. There will always be a few problems, but it is better that you have your voice heard than not at all.