Really, God bless the Democratic Party. Even when they do their best, it ends up shooting 'em right in the ass, then they spend forever pulling lead pellets from their behinds while wondering, "Gee, wherever did we go wrong?" My answer usually begins with the words "John Kerry," but let's try to focus this morning, shall we?
Let's narrow our focus very precisely this a.m.--say, to an individual precinct, like, oh, Precinct No. 1117. Hey, whadya know? That's my precinct. Give it up for the Fightin' One-One-One-Seven. Hurrah!
Well, for the last couple of years, folks l-i-v-i-n in the 1117 went to Chapel Hills Presbyterian Church on Webb Chapel Road to cast our votes. Nice enough place. Ample parkin' day or night; people shouting, "Howdy, neighbors." Then the joint went outta business, which left us practitioners of democracy without a place to call home--that is, till the Dallas County Elections Department up and moved us all to David G. Burnet Elementary School on Kinkaid Drive at the beginning of October. Swell. A little bit of hike from the 'hood, but we could manage.
So could the Dallas County Democratic Party, which, for the first time in since forever, actually printed up postcards to be sent to identified Democrats in the 1117 reminding them of their new polling place, Burnet Elementary. "The Democratic Party usually doesn't have the money to do a get-out-the-vote effort," says Precinct 1117 Democratic Chair and alternate election judge Amy Hunt. "This year, they went above and beyond the call of duty."
Which woulda been swell and all, if only the Dallas County Elections Department didn't up and move Precinct 1117's polling place some two weeks before the election.
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See, we ain't going to Burnet this morning. Nope, we're casting our ballots this morning at F.P. Caillet Elementary School on Merrell Road--my old elementary school, matter of fact, which happens to be named for my daddy's pediatrician, so there. The county made that move about three weeks ago. We got our DCED postcards notifying us of our polling location some time back.
Only problem is, nobody told the Dallas County Democratic Party. And if they had, well, it still woulda been too late: The DCDP went ahead and sent out those postcards telling fellow Dems to go to Burnet instead of Caillet, which, Hunt says, kinda-sorta backfired.
"It's heartbreaking," says Hunt. "It might confuse people and drive down voting among Democrats, which is the opposite of what I am trying to do. It was very frustrating. Last weekend I had volunteers out delivering 400 fliers to all the identified Democrats in the neighborhood saying 'Go to Caillet,' and some people got in the mail today a postcard from the Democratic Party saying, 'Vote at Burnet.' So I called the Democratic Party and said, 'Why are you doing this to me?' And they said, 'The county didn't tell us.' They also said they were funding robocalls to people here who received it instructing them to go to Caillet."
Before ya starting going all conspiracy theory here, keep in mind the Fightin' One-One-One-Seven is still a pretty conservative precinct; folks with Chris Bell (or, oy vey, Kinky Friedman) signs are outnumbered about 583-to-one, give or take 519. "The county is run by Republicans," Hunt says, "so there is no reason to suppress turnout in a predominantly conservative district." It's just a screw-up, the county's half-assed way of finding the One-One-One-Seven a new home and the Democratic Party's way of playing along as it once more attempts to find its ass with both hands and fails miserably. "Our precinct just fell through the cracks," says Hunt. See? My point is made. See ya at the polls, suckers. --Robert Wilonsky