Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Multiple Sclerosis: Once upon a time in a voting booth ...

Patti’s Multiple Sclerosis symptoms require assistance for voting. In Maryland poll workers required her to be accompanied into a voting booth by three poll workers representing Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

Even as spouse caregiver, I could not assist her because allegedly I might try to influence her vote. “You should have gotten her a mail in ballot.” … Since I would have to read it to her and fill it out for her, how exactly does that prevent me from influencing her vote?? Whatever!

Three little old ladies (3LOL) each had to read a statement for each lever, and then help support Patti to a standing position so she could pull levers herself. It was accessible voting hell!

One memorable year, Dole vs Clinton … well, it all came apart.

While Patti was behind the curtain being tortured by the 3LOL she began to fall grabbing the voting machine for support and tipping it over.

To avoid being crushed, the 3LOL push up against the falling voting machine. Patti looses her grip and drops into her wheel chair. The voting machine, now, begins to tip in the opposite direction

Rushing to save the teetering machine, the 3LOL stampede into a voter behind the curtain of the next machine. With startled shrieks now four bodies, in too little space, are bumping into and jostling two voting machines much like pin balls.

While back on the other side ... (since Patti never remembers to set the brakes on her wheelchair) … when she flops into her chair she rockets out in reverse. Her wheelchair slams into yet another voting machine, rocking it and adding its shocked and squawking occupant to the chorus.

Am I’m watching a Three Stooges movie? Machines are helter skelter, a voter or two are still on the floor, the dozens and dozens of people waiting to vote are laughing so hard that strangers are leaning on each other for support, and poll workers are nearing the stroke threshold.

Unfazed by the chaos, Patti rolls up to the frantically huddled poll workers (vote count tumblers in those machines were probably still spinning) and loudly exclaims, "Excuse me; I don't believe I finished voting."

Here in Pennsylvania, Election Day policy is founded in sanity. Patti can choose anyone she wants to assist her with the touch screen ballot.

Just because it is sane, does not mean it is not entertaining. Try helping someone with short term memory loss vote on long tedious referendum issues, or vote for 6 judges out of a field of 12. Hearing our laughter, voters at other screens must wonder if they have the same ballot.

Ahhh! There is nothing quite as inspiring as democracy in action!

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
musings: Patrick Ponders ...


  1. I could just see the entire thing and am still laughing. Nothing that fun ever happens when I vote, sigh, I must go at the wrong times..........

  2. That is just hilarious! Could have been an "I Love Lucy" episode! I never remember to do the absentee voting thing until it's too late, but Mark use to love to go to the polls in his wheelchair just for the entertainment. It took 3LOM to lower the voting booth to wheelchair level, one of them would start out assisting him but since MS slurred his speech and they couldn't understand him they eventually would motion for me. Thanks for the laugh!

  3. Patti is a marvel at one liners.......excuse I don't believe I finished voting!

  4. typo...excuse me I don't believe I finished voting....

  5. oh my gosh! this had me laughing so hard! I'm sure it wasn't funny then, but its hilarious now!! its interesting how the 3 representing the parties need to be in the booth with her; can't say there's any voting fraud going on there

    (this should come as no surprise to you because I have a history of doing this, but I deleted my corgi tells a tale blog; someone didn't like something I wrote and in a fit of anger I deleted it; after I got sane again, I realized that I'm meant to blog, I'm not meant to spend hours on the computer, but I'm meant to get the messages out that I sometimes blog about by God so I started another, however,I'll send a link only if you want it; no obligations)

    hope you all are well!!


  6. I'm not laughing. This is stupid in action. She could have been hurt, for what?? Guess you need to be a helper dog, Patrick. Gees. Why must simple things be made so hard for PWD and the elderly?

  7. This is funny, sad, and scary. I'm glad that she wasn't hurt in the process. But the part where they lift her to reach the levers, shoot, with so much representation couldn't they have insured that her choices were made accurately without her actually pulling the levers?

    I voted early on Saturday and was impressed with a service offered. If you were handicapped, you could choose to have curbside voting. They would bring a voting machine (touch screen) outside just for you. Pretty cool.

    Faster service for the individual and safer conditions for the crowd inside. It took almost 2 hours waiting to get to vote, but I'm glad I did it early. Tomorrow's going to be crazy.


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