Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Voting Day

I love to vote. I love everything about the process. It reminds me of when I was small and Dad would bring me into the voting booth with him. In those days, the ballots were something that were all important. You would unfold them just like a road map, and then mark your choices with a rubber stamp of an "X." The booth seemed as as big as a small room. (Remember, I was small then myelf and this could be like how I remember everything in elementary school being so large and then when I walk into a classroom now, everything is diminuitive.) You pulled a long red curtain closed behind you so that the ballot was a "secret." I believed that the secret vote was all important, because that's what they taught us in school.

Even these days with computer read cards, it's still an honor. Going to vote makes me feel important. Like my opinion counts. Never mind that my one little ballot is lost in a vast ocean of them. At least the government was kind enough to ask me my opinion!

Now I'm not going to discuss my choice of candidates here. Let's just say that this is the most interesting election of my life. An old college professor once said that elections are only heated when the candidate's positions are very close to each other. When they stand far apart on the issues, there is little reason for rancor because the differences are clear. I would say that it is a true statement for these times.

But I digress. Back to voting.

Mid afternoon, I gathered my sample ballot and keys. Left my home, made a left turn outside of the condo (not to be confused with turning right when I am walking to the Post Ofice), and another left at the corner of Reseda Blvd. My polling place is right there... Summerville Retirement Apartments.

I really enjoy that complex. I love that a lot of the old people walk around my neighborhood in the late morning and early afternoon. Some of them fully under their own power, others using walkers but out there all the same. I also love that they spend a lot of time gathered on the patio in front of the building in the afternoon and on warm summer evenings, and always make time to pet my dogs. 100% of the dogs surveyed approve of that.

But polling day is special. They are told that they are not allowed to gather in front of the building. They are not allowed to talk to the people coming and going. Especially about the election, but not at all under any circumstances. They can watch, though. And watch they do.

They gather in the lobby of the building by the score, arranged in rows in a curve that demarks the way to their recreation room where we vote. Some on apartment lobby furniture, some on the seats of their walkers, others in wheelchairs. All mentally acute and interested.

The voters feel like the movie stars do when they walk down the red carpet to an event. We can hear them muttering to each other about us. If they recognize us. What we're wearing. How they think we'll vote...

None of us respond, not only because we're not supposed to, but because we just don't know what to say. I'm pretty sure that one of the really REALLY old men let loose with a soft wolf whistle as I went by.

4 comments:

Ang said...

we vote later in the month..I can't wait..

Claudia said...

I love voting too! It makes me feel powerful even if my vote didn't count in the last primary. Leave it to Florida to screw up the polling process. I hope my vote will count in November.....

hot tamale said...

True what they say, just cuz there's snow on the roof, doesnt mean there's no flame in the furnace! LOL How cute you were whistled at, nothing wrong with his eyes!!
Rock the vote!
Becky

LI Laura said...

I actually voted in my very first primary yesterday. (I had been registered as an independent most of my voting life.) I felt powerful, too. And it was even more delightful when my candidate of choice won in my state! :-D

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