Is there such a thing as reverse intimidation? One person was outside my polling site at Lovett Memorial Library for Ward 22, Divisions 16 and 17 in northwest Philadelphia, PA. The sidewalk was plugged with lawn signs in a staggered, haphazardly fashion boasting everything and anything without regard to any kind of orderly manner.
I opened the taped-on pink ballot door and got in line behind two people for my Division, 16, at 10:30 a.m. There were three people manning each division's table with two voting booths for each division. Two people sat behind each set of booths.
The first gentleman had his deck of old, ragged index cards and proceeded to look up my card/name. I had my PA ID ready but was politely told, "oh, you're here, we don't need that." Away into my wallet went my ID. The next person had the register which I had to sign. Done. And I still don't know what the third person did or did not do; he was just there with a pile of papers.
Here comes the reverse intimidation, for lack of a better description. I could have, just at that point, left the area and walked out without voting because nobody, yes, nobody, headed me to a booth. So I sauntered over, entered the booth where no legs were showing and cast my vote. Well, I think I cast my vote by hitting the big green VOTE button. Then I exited the booth and headed for the door.
While at the door, I took a picture of the two tables with the six people working both tables with the volunteers wearing buttons just gathering and talking to each other paying no attention to me. I exited the polling site and whammo. I was immediately surrounded by people exiting the door shouting "stop her, she took pictures inside and she can't do that." I stopped and now all the workers were paying attention to me. They gathered around me shouting over each other asking me to delete the pictures, there's a law you can't take pictures within 100 feet of the polling site, you can't post those pictures, here give me your camera, we have to delete those pictures, and so on.
I am quite aware that ignorance of the law is no excuse. But since no one led me to the booth to vote, why should anybody care that I took a photo of numerous people just hanging around, basically just talking to other people who were also volunteers or poll watchers. Not one person led me to the booth to make sure I voted. Not one. But almost a dozen were outside in a flash trying to grab my camera.
So I felt intimidated, reversely so. And why do you think I feel that way? Because all the people working there, hulking around, watching but not helping the few of us who were there to vote were persons of color and probably thought since I was a WHITE female, I was voting for Romney and they didn't need nor felt obligated to assist me. Had they paid attention, they would have realized I was a registered Democrat. Maybe they were afraid that if the pictures hit the papers, it would show just how lapse they were in getting out the vote for Obama since the six people working the tables outnumbered the voters at 10:30 a.m. this morning at that particular polling site.
I would gladly post the pictures but since I could be arrested for doing so, I am refraining until after a President is elected.
And, yes, I voted straight Dem, answered the four or five ballot measure questions and left the polling site premises with camera and law-breaking pictures in hand. One of my worst voting experiences. But I voted for re-election of Obama because I think he is the better leader for WE THE PEOPLE to take us FORWARD on a more DETERMINED path than Romney, no matter how slowly we must go forward on that path. Unfortunately, because of my experience today, I don't think my reason for voting for Obama is the reason behind which some people of color are voting for him; I do think now, and because of my experience today, that some persons of color are voting for Obama because of his color and that is so sad from my personal perspective.