Election Day Thoughts (This One Really is Different!)
For the last 35 years, I have voted at the same polling place, an elementary school gymnasium about a mile from my house.
Hearkening my grandmother’s words, which she sternly delivered to me when I was eighteen years old – “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain” – I came to enjoy engaging in that civic responsibility every two years. On many occasions, I would bring my children to the polling booth, allowing them to feel a part of the process.
Mid-term elections have almost always taken no time at all – walk into the gymnasium and right up to the table, announce my address, show my identification, receive a ballot, fill it out, slip it into the electronic box, receive a sticker that showed the world I had voted, and head out the door and back into my car. The entire round trip was generally completed in less than fifteen minutes.
Presidential elections might have increased the time commitment by another ten minutes, but seldom would the entire process take more than half an hour.
But this morning was different from any election I have ever experienced. The school parking lot was overloaded, and I had to drive around it twice before finding a spot. Entering the gymnasium, I found myself snaking around two corners and down a hallway to reach my place in line. When I eventually reached the check in desk, I noticed instructions that listed all the ways one could produce enough identification to vote – it felt like an invitation, rather than a warning.
I voted, received my sticker and wended my way out of the building and into the crowded parking lot, observing the long line of cars attempting to enter.
I am left with this thought – whatever the many outcomes of today’s election, if the turnout across the country is anything like what it is in my district, then we should feel good that the will of the people has been expressed.