Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Audacity of Vote

Back to music tomorrow.

When I voted two years ago, the poll workers were maddeningly inefficient, uninformed, and nasty. It was a horrible experience that made me never want to vote again. Instead, I signed up to be a poll worker for last November's election.

I spent 16 hours on Election Day at the polling place, determined to give others a better voting experience than I had had. (After all, in a Democracy, voting should be easy instead of torturous.) The day was long and amazing, sometimes wonderful, and sometimes annoying. And did I mention long?

My favorite thing that happened was when a middle-aged woman who spoke with a heavy accent came in to vote. She took a long time and was clearly carefully considering each and every race and item on the ballot. When she turned in her ballot, she made a point of shaking hands with each and every poll worker. I was the last one before she shook hands with and she asked me if she had to tell me who she voted for. I told her she didn't have to tell anyone who she voted for. Ever. At that, she smiled and she said to me "I was sworn in as a citizen in March, but today, right now, I feel like I'm really an American."

Link for Gmail subscribers.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Alex. This is from the problem child. Can't seem to publish anything but anonymous.

Connie said...

A co-worker of mine became a citizen just in time to vote in the general election. The time and research she expended in studying each ballot item put me to shame. She not only knew the issues of the presidential campaign, she probably understood the local parks bond initiative better than the folks on the parks commission.

Thanks for posting this story. Many of us need more reminders of how important voting is and how we privileged we are.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the story Alex. This year was my first for voting. After the death of JFK, I never found a candidate that met my standards. This year produced one.