For the last two years I have been struggling to get the Board of Elections in the City of New York to understand two simple concepts : My name and where I live. I have thus far been unsuccessful in doing both at the same time. I moved back to New York from Seattle in August of 2008 — in Seattle, my name was well spelled and my address was accurate.

In New York, the problem was that I moved around a lot and so every time I would register, the information would need to be updated. For a long time I stayed with a friend of mine, and so I registered to vote with his address. The first time I registered to vote, I got a confirmation letter congratulating me on registering to vote.

Rather, it was congratulating someone called Gordon Davidesco. This is not me — my name is Gordon Davidescu and it always has been. They provided a form so that I could change any mistakes and so I re-registered to vote — and I had a friend of mine with excellent handwriting write the information on the form.

A couple of weeks later, I got another letter congratulating me. Actually, scratch that again. This time it was addressed to Gonlon Davidesco. Somehow, they managed to spell my name even worse and made it sound just a little Korean. I pretty much gave up at that point as it was too close to the Presidential election to do anything about it.

I went to the polling place on November 2nd and I informed them that I was not Gonlon Davidescu although the registration said that it was. They had me fill out another form so that I could record the proper spelling of my name and be able to vote at the same time. I did so and assumed that it meant that my vote had been recorded.

A couple of weeks later I got frustrated when another piece of mail came for Gonlon Davidesco. I thought nothing of it until more than a year later when I got a letter from the department of the city government that deals with jury duty. They wanted to know if I was eligible to be a juror for the county of New York. I knew that I was not qualified because I no longer lived in the county of New York. The form requested that if I did not live in New York county that I should provide two forms of proof that this was the case.

They only would take one bill and then wanted something like a copy of a driver’s license, lease agreement, etc. As it turns out, I still haven’t changed my driver’s license from when I lived in Washington state since I don’t drive here. I sent in about five different proofs that I no longer lived in New York county and thought I was done with it.

I wasn’t. They continued to send these requests to my old address on the Upper West Side so it would take an extra week for the request to reach me. The biggest problem is that nowhere in the letter or on the form is there any information on how to speak with an actual human being. I can send in proof after proof but there is no one who can explain to me what more proof I need to send in — they are not sending me proof rejections.

I suppose it could just be time for me to get a valid New York State identification — though that could mean the dreaded RFID — and I dread that notion. On the plus side, I would no longer be thought of as Gonlon Davidesco.

4 Comments

  1. Oh, how I love this story, Gordon! I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing — not at your misery, but rather at the pure incompetence of the process in which you are spinning. It could be its own reality sitcom! There must be some way to find someone in person who will set this straight for you.

    What a crazy condition! I don’t understand how they found you in Manhattan for jury duty if you didn’t get a NYState Driver License. Was it because you registered to vote in Manhattan that they’re trying to find you for jury duty?

    If they have your name wrong — what’s the problem? They can’t call you for jury duty if they’re using the wrong name and, and you rightly suggest, when you finally get your NYState DL, you should be properly identified as a Queens resident.

    On a technical note, you had 30 days after moving to NYState to swap out your WA license:

    http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/license.htm#driversmoving

    1. It’s curious. They say you have to do it but Washington said the same thing about swapping out my license at the time yet neither offer a penalty for failing to do it. NY doesn’t make it easy to get to their office :

      Hours : M – F 8:30 – 4:00

      So… pretty much the entire time I am en route to work, or at work. Not useful. I suppose next week I will go in and work later hours. So it goes.

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