By Casby Bias
Lynn Bias walked up to the voting table in the AMU Tuesday, and looked at the general information board.
“I took one look at that board and thought to myself, ‘(What) the heck is this mess?’” Bias said. “Eventually I sort of knew what would happen (not really), and I had enough information to at least make it to the registration table.”
The Marquette University student then walked to the line, and waited to be called up for registration. She sat down at the table, and looked into the face of a grinning teenager who had the fashion style of a New Boyz rapper.
It was not yet 20 minutes into arriving to vote when a man tried to flirt with her.
Apr. 3, 2012, marked the day Bias, 19, voted for the first time in a primary election. She ran into a few challenges; a registration person hit on her, she didn’t know where basic supplies were, and she had trouble turning in her vote.
Bias listened to the man telling her how cool her last name was. She sat through comments about her “cute” ID picture. She wondered if she was ever going to vote.
“His use of language made me feel like he would probably shout, ‘Aye, girl’ down the street for your attention,” Bias said. “Before, I skipped out of line just to avoid him: that obviously didn't work out in my favor."
But the man explained to Bias the whole voting process, and then sent her on her way to the booths.
Bias said she thought of voting ever since she was little. She looked at the adults standing in the little blue “stalls” as her mother took her home from school. Her mother told her the voting activity was a part of being an adult.
“But you’d think an adult who now knows a little more about elections would be able to find a pencil by herself,”Bias laughed. “All that rope tied to the pencil and the booth: did they think someone was going to steal them?”
She slashed a pencil line through one of the voting arrows on the voting poster. Bias then looked around in the booth for some deposit box or electronic slit to put the form in.
“I thought that the booth was going to be electronic: like I’ve seen on TV,” Bias said. “But there’s this electronic box that we stuff our votes into that makes a beeping sound whenever you’d put a voting poster in.”
Bias watched another woman take her vote to the electronic machine in the center of the room. She said that she thought everything would go OK from then on out because she knew what to do.
“So I didn’t want to be looking stupid,” Bias said. “But I ended up looking stupid.”
She tried putting the voting poster into the machine faced down. But a voting helper told her that the paper needed to face up in order for the machine's approving "ding." Bias fixed the position and waited for a sound.
"Ding": the helper called Bias toward him. She handed him a pink slip, and he handed her an “I voted” sticker.
Bias: “I was strutting down the hall, like yes. I voted today.”
She learned that television couldn’t provide all the facts of voting. She also said that she planned on voting in the future, but it didn’t feel like her vote mattered.
“Now that I got the opportunity (to vote), I’m like, eh,” Bias said. “(Voting is kind) of like voting at a high school, only it’s for people who will probably never know your name or single you out individually for voting for them.”