Despite your best efforts, the volunteer asking you if you’re registered to vote will never be convinced that you actually are.

“Are you eligible to participate in Gainesville elections?”

He or she will ask.

“Do you need to update your address?”

You’ll shake your head no, but their training has prepared them for that. They’ll smile and wish you a nice day, but circle back five minutes later.

“Hi, are you registered to vote?”

He or she will ask again, holding the clipboard toward you accusingly.

Are they trying to be funny? Do they not remember you? Why are you taking so long to finish your Krishna? You will continue chewing and avoid eye contact.

But, it doesn’t matter. You could be wearing headphones, riding a unicycle, or even registering to vote with someone else. They will stop you and ask, and worst of all, your answer doesn’t matter either.

They do not believe you.

“I have an absentee ballot,”

You might say, and you could be telling the truth. They are not impressed.

“My address is current, I am an ACR,”

Might be your response, and it could be accurate. They nod but you’re pretty sure they’re rolling their eyes.

“I am not a citizen of the United States,”

Could even be your answer, maybe you even pretend not to speak English–but somehow they are all bilingual. They wish you well, but be warned:

They will be back. They are unconvinced.

They know, whether or not you do, that you are not registered to vote. They know that your address is not updated. They know your headphones are attached to nothing and the end is just tucked in your pocket. And they will continue to ask.

They will be outside the Reitz. Hiding amongst the mob in Turlington. Lurking in the shadows of every hall, white knuckled with their clipboards.

Ready to strike.

Have you registered to vote?