Tuesday, November 02, 2004

IT'S ELECTION DAY!

Happy holiday! It is ELECTION DAY. We have until 7 p.m. to make it to the polls and VOTE.

This election is not just about choosing the president. There are local issues and local races also (how did you miss knowing that? Didn't you get the same 1,693 phone calls I did?)

Look at your sample ballots if you haven't already. By now you know what you think on each of the candidates and the questions. Now, you have two choices:
(1) Get in your car and drive to your polling place. Take your ID just in case there is a challenge (don't expect one, but be prepared.)
(2) Put on your walking shoes and walk to your polling place. Take your ID just in case there is a challenge (don't expect one, but be prepared.)

Now, VOTE. Follow the exact procedures set up at your polling site, whether you have a paper ballot, a voting machine or one of the new-fangled video screen things. DO IT RIGHT, you hear?

Once you have completed the process, smile sweetly at the poll workers, breathe deeply and slap on your "I VOTED" sticker. Be a positive example for others. Offer someone a ride to the poll if they can't get there, then buy them a cup of coffee to celebrate on the way home.

This IS a holiday, people. There are rules!

VOTE!

4 comments:

Trixie said...

Update: I was at my polling place about 9:30 a.m. There was a line all the way out the door, with many more people in the parking lot making their way to the poll.

Several ladies were walking from Villa Isenbart and Trinity Place, the two retirement homes located just west of St. Patrick's Catholic Church, my voting location. With slow intention, they crossed the parking lot with their three-wheel walkers.

A man who had driven from the neighborhood was returning his wheelchair to the trunk of his car, his walker close at hand so he could get to the driver's seat.

The word "determination" flashed in my mind. We Americans were on a mission today.

It was a secular equivalent to a sacred moment, seeing the variety of people who had made voting a high-priority duty this morning. There were young, old, black, white, Vietnamese, Hispanic ... very representative of my neighborhood.

Going in, most people wore a serious expression -- brows furrowed, almost a prayerful stance as they committed to complete this covenant.

As they slipped their ballots into the ballot machine and watched as the green light recorded their votes, their countenances changed to a relaxed smile. Without exception, they seemed to stand taller and easier, with the weight of this duty lifted from their shoulders.

They smiled at those remaining in the line as they left the sixth grade Christian Education room at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. And it seemed the statue of the Madonna in the corner of the hallway smiled too.

There were some blips. One particular couple had spoiled their ballots because they failed to use the special felt-tip pen to mark their ballots. The poll workers issued them new ballots with clearer instructions to use the pens that were provided. She allowed them to use their old ballot as a guide for filling out the new ones -- a mistake. Instead of returning the spoiled ballots, the couple tore them up and threw them in the trash can. The poll workers had to retrieve the scraps to submit to the Election Board.

Those keeping the registration books sat sullenly on their side of the table. Instead of letting those in line know which books they were tending, they sat there, wordless, with a grim stare. It felt like we were imposing on them. I wanted to shake them. Instead, I made a point of (loudly) asking the old man behind the first book which book he had. He mumbled, barely audibly, "A through K." Not to be stopped, I cheerfully said "Oh GOOD! That's MY book." He was not pleased. He had to find my name. Sheesh.

One poll worker was asked to give assistance to a woman whose hands were too shaky to mark her ballot. Clearly the poll worker didn't understand the request -- she took the woman over to a table instead of a voting booth, where everyone could hear their communications. The voter was trying to tell the worker how she wanted to mark her vote; the worker pointed at the selection and said "You mark it here." DUH. The voter again repeated (for about the fifth time) that her hands shook too much to mark the ballot herself and again asked the worker for her help with the pen. I think the worker FINALLY understood the request and helped the woman finish her ballot.

I put my finished ballot in the machine and watched the green light come on. I was ballot #333 -- an excellent turnout for 9:30 in the morning. Many times there aren't that many votes cast by the end of election day. I am encouraged by the dedication of a large number of voters.

I put my "I Voted" sticker on and scanned the crowd one last time -- the business people, the retired, those who were down and out and smelly. Every one of us an American with a precious right and duty to self-determination.

God Bless America!

FrenziedFeline said...

So sorry I didn't post yesterday--as you know, I had canning yesterday and it was my busiest day. I should remember not to do that again if it's election day. I almost didn't have time to vote!

Even though I realized that I'd be canning on election day soon enough to send for an absentee ballot, I just don't like to vote absentee on elections that are very important to me. They count the absentee ballots last, so I always want my vote to be counted as soon as possible. Even though I knew there was no hope that my guy was going to win my state, there was plenty on our ballot for which I wanted to know I'd done my part when they announced the results.

My polling place changed from our own HOA clubhouse to the nearby senior golf community. It took me 35 minutes to get in and out, and that was at 2:00 in the afternoon. I've never had to wait more than 10 minutes--ever. I was in line squarely amidst a group of seniors. I've always had a pretty good rapport with older people, so we had an enjoyable time chatting while we waited.

I'm happy to report that most of what I voted for, or against, went the way I wanted. Two of the exceptions were Matthews and Laning did not win their bids. They were two of the spots on my blog. (BTW, it baffles me why none of the my regulars ever asked why I was supporting a Dem!) Also, a personal friend lost the run for municipal water board director. That was a shame, he would have been very good.

By the by, I didn't get 1,693 phone calls--California is just an ATM machine for elections, so we don't get bugged very much. I did get a call from Ah-nold, though, but it was to ask me to vote the way I was going to vote anyway, so I couldn't even get into a good argument with the computer version of the governor.

I'm done canning until Saturday morning, except that DS picked up a job canning one lady's ten (count 'em, TEN) 25-pound bags of flour. So somewhere along the line, he'll be canning which means I am, too, sort of. :)

TECH said...

I didn't ask why you were supporting a Democrat, Frenzied, because I just figured it was a sign you were finally coming to your senses ... :)

FrenziedFeline said...

ROFL!

I suppose, Tech, that coming to my senses would imply that I had left my senses. I checked, and they were all there, so that couldn't be it. ;)

I would like to take this opportunity to thank your state for siding with me. There's a scary thought, eh? :)