Monday, October 20, 2008

What Would Homer Do?

I have never voted early. I love voting on election day. My precinct's polling place is a retirement residence just around the corner from my house. I could walk there, but I usually drive. The very act of parking the car with my candidates' stickers on it and walking into the building with voter registration card in hand...well, it makes me stand a bit taller. I'm voting. The words always go through my mind and make me happy. This is my 9th presidential election as a voter. There have been untold numbers of local and state elections along the way as well. Still, I have not lost my sense of appreciation and obligation about taking part in our system by casting my vote. Inside my precinct polling station, the gracious, elderly residents are always dressed in their Sunday clothes, smelling of Here's My Heart perfume and Old Spice. They serve as greeters and hosts from 7 am 'til 7 pm. The Ladies Baking Committee always has a table set up with cookies and cakes for sale. I always buy something. I don't know what the money is for, but I wouldn't dream of passing them by. They are adorable. Our ballots are always paper here. We sit at desks with those don't-cheat-off-your-neighbor, three-sided boxes on top. We put our ballots into locked metal boxes at the exit. This is election day to me. Today I was standing in line at a lovely, but comparatively soulless, performing arts center. The process was slick. They scanned my registration card into some machine that I suppose holds the name of every voter everywhere. They printed two sticky labels...all about less than 20 seconds, and gave me one of the labels to hand to a helpful gentleman who asked me to pick my station. Station? I've never voted electonically. Every story about ways people have messed up an electronic vote raced through my head. I was a little bit afraid, I have to admit. But I resolved to take as much time as I needed, even though a half dozen helpers were lurking behind me in a very non-secret-ballot kind of way, with an unspoken message to "move along." Undaunted, I told myself I would read every single word as many times as I wanted to. Except I forgot my glasses. It took longer than anyone wanted. Warning to all who feel no fear about interacting with technology. DO NOT HURRY. Read the instructions. Re-read your ballot once you are finished. I know you know how to use the back-up button. Use it. That red flashing VOTE on the top of the machine means it's the real deal when you push it. I hope I did what I meant to do. And now I wait...which is not my gift. I like the instant gratification of voting in the morning and watching returns in the evening. I'm like Homer Simpson after he's told at a restaurant that his whole fried buffalo will take an extra 2-minutes to prepare. "But I want it NOW!" whines Homer. Me too. Still, I was there this morning...15 days before the nation is counted...casting my vote in what I believe to be the most important election of my lifetime. The guy who checked my groceries later in the day said, "Wow, you're eager!" when he saw my I Voted sticker. "It's my contingency case I get hit by a truck before November 4," I told him. He said, "Why would you care then?" "I have children." Vote. Peace.


Gay said...

After checking your blog today, I was surprised, I know you love the excitement of election day. I also voted today (but I'm sure that's no surprise to you). Welcome to electronic voting!

And for anyone who is reading this blog and is still concerned about taking too much time - it's important, it's your vote, take as much time as you want.

Anonymous said...

Re: "I have children."

I pondered that one for a few minutes.

If we are not living for those who come along after us, children ... or stranger ..., I'm not sure any of this is important.

Love this blog!

~ dws.

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