Unilateral name-change

First, she disappeared my precinct. Then, she moved the polling place, not once but twice. And somewhere in there, we were sent voter cards with the wrong information about precinct location. Now, she has taken it upon herself to change my name. After decades of voting with the name that’s on all my legal documents, I now have a voter-registration card bearing a shortened form of my name that I never, ever use. Thank you, Dana DeBeauvoir. I’m not going to try to change it until after Election Day, because I want to vote early and I want to be as certain as I can that my vote will count. But if anybody should ask me for additional identification at the polling place, I won’t have any that matches my new voter card. Yes; it’s true that the commissioners’ court voted on the precinct amalgamation. And changes in the polling places are reported to have something to do with the Federal disability act, although people in wheelchairs have voted in the old precinct without trouble for as long as I can remember. And it was probably some clerk in her office who took it upon him- or herself to make a shorter name for me. But it’s her responsibility. When you mess with my name, you mess with me! And if I were to change my name, which I don’t care to do, it wouldn’t be to somebody else’s choice.

Update: The saga continues and continues and continues, now with installments 2, 3, 4, and 5. . .

E-mail received from the director of the voter registration division, Dolores (Dee) Lopez, states in pertinent part: “Your name is listed on the voter registration file as: [correct name]. Due to mail sizing requirements, the voter registration certificate displays your name as: [incorrect name]. I apologize that we are unable to print your full name as provided on the voter registration application.”

My response:

I do not find the explanation to be a persuasive one. It appears to be erroneous as well. I have mailed Ms. DeBeauvoir a letter containing a photocopy of the two cards. The card just superseded, which bears my correct name, is smaller than the new one, which bears a shortened, incorrect name. The yellow, printable area of
the new, incorrect card is larger than the yellow printable area of the superseded card that bears my correct name. The same is true of the white printable area in each card. Why would a shorter (and incorrect) name be placed in a larger space?

In this day and age, when we’re always having to provide additional identification in all sorts of contexts, I want a voter card that is correct. I do not want to be questioned when I sign my full correct name and it is not as it appears on the voter card.

I checked the on-line voter-registration database, and my name has now been changed there, as well, to an incorrect form.

My correct name, including spaces, contains 23 characters. The incorrect name, including spaces, contains 19 characters. Should I understand that it is the practice to truncate a name and issue a voter card bearing an incorrect name for anyone whose name is longer than 19 characters?

I want a corrected voter card and I want my name in the database to be corrected as well. Thank you.

I already have enough trouble with documents having to do with names (and with those having to do with addresses as well, since we still get mail addressed to former residences, which happen to be on the same block and with the same numerical prefix). There’s more and more checking of i.d.’s in all sorts of strange contexts, and a lot of questions when the various documents do not match one another.

Update to the update: When I checked my name again as listed in the voter files and on-line database, I found that it has now been corrected there. Lest anyone should claim that it was never incorrect in that location, I have the screenshot to prove that it was, as recently as this morning.

Update to the updated update: Late this afternoon (Monday, 23 October), I found e-mail from yet a third person, with the title of voter registration supervisor, as follows: “Your name has been corrected on your voter registration record, as you have already seen on the web site, and you will receive a new voter certificate within 10 days.” I’ll be surprised if a corrected voter card arrives before Election Day, but at least the election judges will now be able to refer to corrected file information.

Update to the updated updated update: This is from e-mail received from person number two today, after I sent a thank-you to all three: “With the assistance of our mailing vendor, we are now able to provide first, middle, and last names on voter certificates.” I wonder what these mailing vendors are vending: paper? database services? the services of records clerks? How often do we change those vendors, whatever it is that they are vending? Just months ago it was possible to provide a correct card. My lawyer friends wonder where to find those mysterious “mail sizing requirements” that earlier took the blame. When did they go into effect? How did they prevent my new card, issued just months after the prior one, from being accurate? Just wondering. Yesterday morning the office was “unable” to provide an accurate card; within hours I was told that the office was “now able” to provide one. That’s one quick change of vendors or the services that they’re capable of providing, just within hours. Or maybe the same-day change was in the “mailing out rules” that were earlier reported to be the obstacle.

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