Tuesday, February 5, 2008
That Little Round Red Sticker
A couple of weeks ago, when our voter information books arrived, my husband said, "Oh, we should send in that form to get our absentee ballots." (They are now called Vote-By-Mail ballots, which makes much more sense.) I said "Uh-huh," but never did it. Then last week, when there was actually still time to send in the application, a friend of mine told me she already voted. It hit me all of a sudden. I didn't want to vote by mail! I wanted to preserve the option of changing my mind up to the last minute. I wanted to go up the street to the poky little garage, and see others of my neighbors headed there, too, all of us doing our civic duty. I wanted to see who was working the polls this year: Would it be the elderly lady wearing a golf hat who told me, "Thanks for comin' out!" and her colleague with the shaky hand sliding her finger down the row of voters on the list past my name, so I had to help her find it? And most of all, I want my little round red sticker that says I voted in three languages. So I did nothing about sending in the application for a Vote-By-Mail ballot, and voted in person.
As I walked to my polling place today, I saw our next door neighbor (whose alternative rock band was featured on the cover of a local alternative paper) also heading that way. I admit I think of him as a bit of a slacker, but seeing him going to vote definitely raised his ratings with me. This year our polling place was staffed by smiling young women, perhaps only high-school-aged, or not much older, who efficiently found my name and whisked me my ballot. There was a conversation in Spanish going on while I fed my ballot into the machine that instantly transmits my choices to the election office. And an elderly man carefully peeled off my sticker and gave it to me. That was my voting experience. I wore my sticker proudly all day.
I wish I had known about this great nationwide civic art project to photograph your polling place. I just learned about it from a blog I enjoy reading, called "the end of motherhood?", written by a mom with teenage sons. If I had read her post earlier, I would have taken a photo to document the most nondescript of garages where I exercised one of our most precious democratic rights. BTW, I voted for Hillary Clinton.