My Pandemic Diary, Entry #72

My Pandemic Diary, Entry #72

Hello Fellow City Cooks,

It’s a hazy Wednesday that’s forecast to reach the 80’s and we might get a thunderstorm or two later today.

The nation’s demonstrations and rallies continue but it is a relief to see that much of the violence and looting has ended. I salute the passion and principles of the demonstrators but I worry that the virus is right there with them. We will soon know the consequences of the crowds but I fear for what might happen.

Yesterday was a big day for me because I got to spent part of it with New York County’s Board of Elections in pursuit of my right to vote. That’s because as a result of a clerical glitch somewhere between NYC and Saratoga County in upstate New York, my voter registration was cancelled last month. Actually, it wasn’t really cancelled.  Rather it was transferred to Saratoga County, a place that I am sure is lovely, but I’ve never been. 

What happened was that two weeks ago, after receiving an official absentee ballot application in the mail, I went to Vote.NYC, the City’s election web portal, to submit my online ballot request. That's how I found out that NYC no longer recognized me as a voter. After a flurry of phone calls, and hours spent on hold, I was told that according to New York State’s election authorities, I had moved. To Saratoga County.

The folks in New York County (where the City is located) couldn’t help me because Saratoga had claimed me as theirs. As one of the extremely helpful and impressively precise Board of Election bosses I ended up speaking with told me, “you can’t be in two places.” Had I another residence there? I assured everyone I did not. A slew of other questions followed but none of my answers solved the mystery.

I decided to speak directly with the people who moved me from NYC to Clifton Park, New York, the town that I had supposedly moved to, and I called the Saratoga County’s Board of Elections. A very earnest and helpful woman named Emma answered my call, looked me up, and quickly found the error. In a moment of refreshing candor, she explained how it happened (two names, very similar, easy to mix-up, etc.). She also told me that all I had to do to get back home, like Dorothy clicking her ruby slippers, was re-register to vote in NYC using the Department of Motor Vehicles’ website and that the Boards of Elections of both Saratoga and New York Counties would take it from there. And in less than four days, they did.

Yesterday afternoon I learned it was all fixed, thanks to the great people at New York City’s Board of Election, the DMV, and Emma in Saratoga County. I’m again a NYC voter and my absentee ballot for the June 23 primary election is on its way to me. 

If I hadn’t been able to vote, I would have been distraught. And especially now, with all that is before us, it is imperative that we all vote. Even though it can be empowering to actually go to the polls, right now it may not be safe to do so, so vote by mail. In New York, your application for a Primary Absentee ballot must be completed and received by June 16. Go to Vote.NYC for more information. Folks in other states should check with your local Board of Elections for your requirements and deadlines.

So to any of you who are in New York State, or are in another state with an election still to come this primary season, let us all stand up. No matter your views or party, use you voice. Vote. It’s our country.

Cooking and Groceries

I felt celebratory last night after being recognized again as a NYC voter and Mark and I celebrated with a chicken dinner. When taking the last pieces of chicken out of the freezer yesterday, I also found a package of drumsticks so I added them to last night’s dinner knowing that a little roasted drumstick, along with a handful of cherry tomatoes, can make a perfect lunch. On the suggestion of my beloved niece, who after reading yesterday’s diary entry, offered some enthusiasm to what had been my case of cooking listlessness, I filled a sheet pan with the chicken thighs and drumsticks along with thin slices of lemon, garlic cloves, and chunks of potato and 45 minutes later we had a terrific dinner.

I also made a big pot of broccoli rabe, first braised in a splash of water, and then combined with a rather large amount of gently sautéed paper-thin slices of garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a glug of olive oil. The meal had a lot of flavor for very little work.

Stay safe, stay engaged, and have a nice dinner.

Kate McDonough

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