As a journalist, I normally consider myself a pretty astute presence at the voting booth. But today the polls got the best of me.

I showed up at my normal polling place today and was told that because of an increase in voter registration, I was to vote at the Ocean Beach Elementary School on Santa Monica Avenue. No big deal, I thought. Apparently I didn’t read the voting book that was sent to my house to double-check my voting spot.

So I went to the Ocean Beach Elementary School; I used to vote there anyways. There, they told me that, no, this wasn’t my polling place. They sent me to Point Loma Methodist Church. Mildly frustrated, I headed over to the church.

At the church, they told me that I was most definitely at the wrong place. They brusquely brushed me aside and told me to call a hotline. Growing angry and slightly discouraged at this point (I’m always excited to vote and had been especially excited this time for many reasons), I made the call.

The automated line said this: Ocean Beach Elementary School on Santa Monica Avenue.

I was certifiably mad.

So I went back to the Ocean Beach Elementary School on Santa Monica Avenue. There, they were perplexed. My name didn’t show up anywhere on the lists. Are you sure you weren’t directed to Ocean Beach Elementary School? they asked.

Where am I? I asked.

Ocean Beach Recreational Center. The elementary school is across the street, they said.

Sure enough, I’d confused the rec center for the elementary school. I finally made it to the elementary school and cast my ballot.

It only took five trips to four different polling stations.

I’m certainly at fault for confusing these two buildings. However, two of the four polling stations I visited couldn’t tell me based on my address where I was supposed to be voting, and that’s a problem in a neighborhood where there are churches every block that serve as polling stations and, as I learned, and Ocean Beach Recreational Center and an Ocean Beach Elementary School right next to each other on the same street.


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