Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thoughts on Voting

I exercised my right to use the option of absentee voting this afternoon, and I was surprised that it took about 45 minutes to do so. Last year when I needed to vote absentee, it took about ten minutes. I was the only person voting that afternoon. Today I was joined by dozens of others who were exercising their right as well.

It was very encouraging to see the number of people who were already out ready to exercise their right of citizenship. There were all sorts of people there--many elderly people who were with their grown children who were assisting them because of a variety of health issues. I talked to a marvelous gentleman in line behind me who was carrying his oxygen tank and sitting in a portable walker. He told me that his wife had fussed at him last night because he had sent more money to the Obama campaign in spite of these hard economic times. He said that he had donated 8 or 9 times already even though he has never contributed to a political campaign before.

I talked to teachers and retired teachers and students and I saw all ages, waiting patiently in a facility that was clearly not set up for the volume of business that they were handling this particular day. There were two fabulous gentlemen who were shouting out directions and guiding people to fill out the forms properly, making sure that everyone knew exactly what they needed to do. I thought of them as angels because in spite of what could clearly be a frustrating job, they were gracious and patient and still cheerful after answering the same question hundreds of times.

I didn't count, but I bet that in the time I was there, I saw at least 100 people--those ahead of me in line and those waiting in line behind me as I left. I arrived at about 2:35--I left at 3:15.

I share all of that with you by way of encouraging others to vote before the 4th if you can. If you can't, however, please go prepared for a lengthy wait. Take a bottle of water and a snack with you. Take a yard chair if you have bad knees or a bad back that will make standing for over 30 minutes uncomfortable for you. Take a book. Take a friend that you haven't seen for awhile so your can catch up while you wait in line together and the time will go by more quickly.

Whatever you do, don't let the long lines and what could be a very long day deter you from participating in this historic election. I write this mindful that not everyone who may read this post plans to vote the same way, and that is absolutely okay. EVERYONE's vote counts, and this is no time for the faint of heart regardless of their personal politics. Regardless of your choice on the 4th, in the long run, we owe it to our children to demonstrate for them in a meaningful way that we believe in the democratic process (notice the little "d") and we are in a position to make history on Tuesday.