I Wasn't The Only Voter Feeling Lonely In Yesterday's Primaries

Yesterday, I
wrote aboutbeing the first Republican voter of the day at my heavily Democratic precinct in Queens. The poll workers first handed me a Democratic voter card and were confused when I said I wanted to vote in the Republican primary. Several of you wrote in with similar stories.

My friend Josh Culling is a Republican who lives in Washington, D.C.’s Trinidad neighbourhood. He reports:

I had the same exact experience in Washington D.C.’s 2012 presidential primary. Was handed a blue card, had to correct them, and received a look of astonishment. A more private person would have been offended about being outed, I think.

Josh’s wife Sally McNamara adds “I think this was a first, to be fair.” Actually, it wasn’t. D.C. election records indicate a grand total of 15 votes were cast at Josh’s precinct in the 2012 Republican presidential primary. In the general election, Barack Obama took 97% of the vote.

More awkward than being a white Republican voting in a mostly black precinct is being a black Republican voting in a mostly white precinct. Jim Copland describes his wife’s experience voting in Westchester County on Tuesday:

When Tahira walked into our Mount Pleasant polling place last night, with our son, the election officials said to her, “it’s only a Republican primary today” — the presumption being she couldn’t possibly be there to vote in THAT!

Of course, this experience isn’t just for Republicans. I also heard from Democrats living in deep red areas who met similar astonishment when they asked for ballots from the proper party.

When Tim Barber went to vote in a primary in Utah in 2012, a poll worker handed him a party change form and said “Here’s a form for you to register as a Republican so you can vote today.” When he expressed his desire to vote in the Democratic primary, he got this response from the two ladies working check-in:

“Ohhhhhh” they both exclaimed and looked at each other, and then at me almost as if I was their grandson and had disappointed them.

Jacob Nix had a similar experience some years back in rural North Carolina:

My polling place, typical of the town, was a church. A very nice elderly precinct worker asked which party, I said Democrat, to which she deadpanned, “Okie dokie. This isn’t a Catholic Church, but I’m sure someone could hear your confession afterwards.” She was told to shush by other precinct workers amid generalized laughter. She didn’t laugh and never lost her seriousness.

So remember, even if you feel alone on election day, you’re not.

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