November 2, 2004

Election Day

Election CakeI got to the polling place a little late this morning, past 10:00. We vote at the local library, and when I arrived the place was buzzing.

I joined the short line at the polls. The young girl in front of me was having trouble, apparently because she had recently moved. Her name wasn’t on the list and she was referred to someone in charge.

I chatted with the one of my neighbors, a nice lady who always works at the polls. She complimented me on my daughters—we’d just seen her on Halloween for trick or treating. They checked my name, I got my ballot, and I went to the booth.

I voted, and then I noticed a ballot question I was unaware of. There weren’t any state questions, so this took me by surprise. It was about joint custody in divorce cases. Maggie called me on my cell just as I was voting, and I had to put her on hold as I completed the process.

I took my ballot to the machine that collects them, and in it went. I’d voted! I stepped outside for a brief conversation with Maggie as a wonderful feeling washed over me. When I returned to the library, I bought a cake from the Friends of the Library organization with a big goofy grin on my face. The cake would help celebrate election day back at the office.

It occurred to me that I felt something pretty strong in voting. I did my part, perhaps the least part, but an important part in this process of setting the course of this nation of ours. I’m not a senator, nor a representative, nor a lobbyist, nor a huge campaign contributor. But I can participate—I can cast my vote. No one else can cast it for me.

Perhaps it’s from having been a Catholic, but the polls almost had an element of the unburdening that comes with giving a confession at church. How appropriate, a place I for which I have reverence, the library, is the place we go to cast our vote. It’s the place we go to release our vote into the world where it will lend itself to the cause of democracy.

I don’t know why anyone doesn’t vote. We’re getting together in one cathartic moment. It’s a feeling of power, and of pride in our system.

As I left the polls, I looked around at my small New England town doing it’s New England things. All the people I’m used to seeing, the fall foliage, and the crisp air. These are things I love about the area. And we love our voting. I’ve said before that I consider the autumn to be even more a time of renewal than the spring time. Even more so when we have a chance for renewing our government in election. We renew our faith in the system, and renew our voices—reminding government that it is us.

I’m not liveblogging the election, but I will be blogging pretty much as usual as I work.

Steve and Chuck are going to be liveblogging, however. And Steve is doing so for the Jimmy Fund.

Posted by James at November 2, 2004 11:42 AM
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We stood in line to vote this morning, outside the elementary school gym. I was afraid that if I waited until after work, there would be some impediment and I'd miss my chance (you know, heavy traffic, locusts, etc.).

As we edged closer to the gym, the town clerk began waving her arms over her head and yelling for everyone to stop, saying we had the wrong ballots. I think she was yelling that they didn't have the name of the town in the top corner.

The woman in line in front of me remarked wryly that it was another Florida. I said, "I can see my breath. It's not Florida." We chuckled, but I did wonder what the ballot problem meant for those who had already driven away by the time the clerk made her announcement.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 2, 2004 1:20 PM

On my way out of the town library after voting I filled out one of the exit polls the networks are sharing this year. Results are reported back three times today but the man overseeing the polling didn't know when the networks would air the results.

I filled out the survey answering truthfully with my anti-Bush sentiments except for one question which asked if I have ever served in the military. Fearing my opinions would be discounted due to lack of personal experience in the military I answered "yes". If they can use me I can use them.

Posted by: Mike at November 2, 2004 2:08 PM

I had to wait, but only because I got there early. I was second in line. A few more people came in behind me, but there wasn't a huge line yet.

So, there were parking spaces available. I didn't have to walk to the Caroline Street Senior Center after all. But I'm glad I did. It was a nice walk, and nobody shot at me or anything.

I keep checking all my favorite news sites (and then some) on approximately a 3-minute rotation (only slight exaggeration) as if they're really going to have an answer for me. I guess it's just an obsessive thing I'm doing to relieve the tension. I'm sure I'll be more relaxed this time tomorrow (if not half-asleep). Also probably very hung over.

Posted by: Julie at November 2, 2004 2:45 PM

am going to vote tonight, after karate lessons. i'm hoping that there will still be a long line - because it renews my faith in humanity to see so many people taking this election seriously enough to get out there and do it.

Posted by: beth at November 2, 2004 2:48 PM

As I said - it warms the heart!

Posted by: James at November 2, 2004 2:55 PM

I will not watch or listen to any election news tonight. My plan is as follows:

I will sequester myself in my library with a glass of sherry or port, my book, and my chubby smooshy loveable kitty cat.

News is right out. I will either be elated or thrown into the pits of despair tomorrow morning when I wake up to BBC.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 2, 2004 3:17 PM

I'll be watching the hourlong special from The Daily Show at 10.

Show me the funny.

Posted by: James at November 2, 2004 3:46 PM

I'm going to vote after work. I'll likely head out in 45 min. I'll try to post about the experience on my blog.

Posted by: briwei at November 2, 2004 6:46 PM

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