I had, after all, said that any election-day shenanigans should be referred to the registrar of voters, namely me (the Democratic registrar) and Shirley (The Republican).

Below is a transcription of the phone conversation that occurred beween me and the Town Hall polling place, at approximately 10 AM. My comments are in italics.


"This is the town Democratic Registrar. How can I help you?"

"Yeah, uh, about what you said about same-day registration...and how we were supposed to call you when weird stuff happened —"

"What is it? Did someone try to vote twice?"

"No, it's just that the statue of Noah Webster is out here on the lawn of the Town Hall, asking to register to vote."

Here I raised an eyebrow, but the person on the other end couldn't see that. I decided to play along.

"Does he have a residential address?"

"He listed his address as the pedestal in front of the Noah Webster Library."

"That's not a mailing adress. No dice."

I thought that would end the joke there. 

But the poll worker kept talking. "What if I tell him to put down the mailing address of the library? I mean, the building has his name on it and everything. He effectively lives at the library, even if it's not inside."

"He's Noah Webster. What about his old house on North Main? Ah, but he moved. Might as well list the library. Wait -- is he a citizen of the United States? Do statues count as citizens? Maybe he can't vote after all."

"Do you want me to tell a ten-foot statue that he can't vote?"

"Even ten-foot statues can't argue with the law."

"Yeah, but he can argue with the doors."

This was getting ridiculous. 

"We will not be intimidated by anyone on election day! Tell him he can take his case to court and get it sorted out in time for next year's election."

"Next year is an off-off-off year! All we're voting for is dogcatcher!"

"I'm sure someone as respectable and venerable as Noah Webster will be willing to wait for the big election in 2016."

"He's scowling and tapping his foot."

"Tell him to be patient and work within the law, and he'll have his problems solved."

"He says they said the same thing to that Negro preacher in the 1960s."

That startled me. Nobody, not even hardcore racists, uses the word "negro" any more. I wouldn't be surprised if many people have never even heard the term. Maybe this wasn't a joke after all. 

"Tell him that he's not Martin Luther King, Jr. and that we don't use the term 'Negro' anymore."

"Look, I really don't want to disappoint the guy whose name is on the town library. What can we do for him?"

Tell him to get back on his pedestal and continue to look serious? 

"Tell him we've made the town grand and prosperous since he died?"

"I mean for voting. How about we have him work at the polls?"

"Too late for that. He didn't go to the training sessions."

"He's saying he did. He says he looked in through the windows."

Boy, that must have been unnerving.

"Did he sign the forms for attendance and getting paid?"

"Hang on...yeah, here they are. But he's not going to fit in the polling place."

"Tell you what. Have him stand outside the polling place, and if anyone tries anything funny, inside or out, have him give them a stern glare. He's good at glaring."

"Right. I will tell Mr. Webster that we're employing him as a School Marm."

"You do that."

At this point, I'd had enough of the suspense, so I sent someone over to check out town hall and see if there really was a giant statue on the lawn. Sure enough, there was Noah Webster. Glaring like he always does. I decided he'd be unhappy with the job we gave him, especially when I was informed that the poll worker who went out to talk to him was given the sternest, stoniest glare Webster could muster. How could I disappoint the writer of the American dictionary, the man who promoted American spelling? So we got him registered to vote.

You can't blame me for the fact that the local judge later ruled him ineligible to vote, on account of not being a citizen.

Nor can you blame me for the fact that Webster, finding his patience at an end, decided he would argue with as many building facades as possible. Nor that the police decided the best way to stop him was with RPGs. Who gave them RPGs? Some idiot from the Pentagon who needed to offload surplus military gear. Who among the police force decided they didn't need to be trained in the use of military weapons, such that the grenanades would miss and put craters in Main Street? 

Not me. I'm just the Democratic registrar. I don't make the rules. I did my best to accomodate a giant angry statue. Don't point any fingers at me.

And look on the bright side: he didn't destroy the library. 

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