I had an interesting experience at the polls today. When I first registered to vote, at age 18, I registered with one party – but I haven’t always voted for the candidates put forth by that party. I tend to pick my candidate based on who they are as a person, and what they espouse, and less on what party label they wear. So today, I once again was attracted to a candidate for president in the other party, but I realized it was the first time I’ve ever felt that way in a Primary Election – so I explained to the poll worker what I wanted to do, and asked how best to accomplish that – since obviously if they handed me the ballot for my “official” party, my preferred candidate’s name would not appear on it.
The poll worker told me first it wasn’t possible – that I should have changed my party affiliation before the deadline, and now it was impossible. So then I asked how to write-in a candidate’s name, and she said that I could do that, but it probably wouldn’t count. And I told her that was fine, I might still do it anyway! She was completely kind and helpful, but luckily another poll worker nearby heard the exchange and grabbed the policy book and looked it up and discovered that I could indeed vote under another party, using a Provisional Ballot. Yeah!
So I got my special little peach colored envelope and as they explained it to me, the guy in line behind me said he wanted to do the same thing. And we all kind of laughed over it. Here I was the first person all day with that question – and it was really late in the day – and now they had two of us in a row. So I went over to the little cardboard voting booths and filled in the little bubbles with a pen – no electronic voting in Fallbrook! And when I was done, and waiting to hand over the peach envelope with my provisional ballot, I noticed a bunch of people getting peach envelopes. Now they could have been people from other areas, people who have recently moved – there are lots of reasons to use a provisional ballot. But as I left I smiled at the poll worker who had helped me and said, “Wow, there are lots of us all of a sudden!” and she smiled back and said, “Yeah, you really started something!” and she gave me the OK sign.
It made me feel good to realize that I’m not the only one – and also to know that because I asked the question, it opened the door to other voters getting to vote for the candidate they truly believe in, rather than having to stick to their official party’s candidates. I have no idea who they all voted for – but I think it’s VERY cool they got to make the choice they really wanted to make!