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The Citizen

A Long Trip to the Polls

Photo Credit: Tiffany Ho

I used to joke, nothing prepared me for my first ballot like those Scantrons in grade school. Since I came of age, I have voted absentee in my home state of California due to my itinerant lifestyle.

When work called me semi-permanently to Virginia this month; however, I realized my vote could go further here. I looked up VA’s registration requirements; I still filled out my CA ballot. Just in case.

The first time I submitted my online VA registration, I got an error message when verifying my drivers’ license. I assumed it had to do with my many USPS Change of Addresses. Undeterred, I tried again and got the same message.

Next morning, the New York Times reports “Virginia’s online voter registration portal goes down on deadline day,” because “a fiber optic cable was cut just south of Richmond, according to the Virginia Information Technologies Agency, which handles the state’s cybersecurity.”

A fiber optic cable. Was cut.

I considered voting again in CA, but my mother insisted I stick to VA because “the more an anonymous someone doesn’t want you to vote in VA, the more you must vote in VA.” After refreshing the page like a fiend every hour, the website came back live an hour before the deadline. I made it.

Almost. After a week’s worth of calculating nagging of the county registrar, I flew to VA. An hour’s wait in 40-degree weather and then I got to fill in my bubbles. Perfect like my Scantrons.