Election Day 2012

There were 60 people in front of me in the little high school gym in my town when I went to vote around 9 am this morning. By the time I punched in my vote on the computer screen there were over 100.

Before I got to the polls, the cable news networks were showing long lines in Miami and in northern Virginia. Looks like a big turnout.

I went to vote with my oldest daughter, who was casting her first vote in a presidential election. She told me the only other time she had voted were in municipal elections in Finland when we lived there.

When I got to the gym, I chatted with a woman who had motioned my daughter and I  around her and another woman. “We’re workers, worker bees”, she said.

I thanked her for working and noted how big the turnout was, and how the TV news had indicated the same thing. She said,”That’s good!”.

She then went on to muse how in the world the poor people affected by Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey were going to vote. I told her that I had heard that they were actually taking ballots out to tents set up as polling station.

As our line moved rather quickly around the gym, I looked at my fellow voters. I looked at one woman and said,”Obama voter.” I did the same with some others.

I was a little ashamed of my thoughts, thinking I was profiling people. I guess I was. I did the same thing when I flew after 9/11. But then, I think my concerns were valid.

As we moved along like lemmings, I told my daughter of elections past. I told her I thought this was the biggest line I had experienced since Reagan/Carter.

I also remembered how in the early 90s I had voted out in the country in South Carolina. There I had to punch holes in card. (Hanging chad anyone!) I took some of my international students with me to give them the experience of the American electoral process.

I had a hard time remembering specific polling places I had been in. I did recall  the swimming pool clubhouse I had voted in during Bush/Kerry in California in California.

I told my daughter that I had voted in every presidential election since I had been eligible. (I cast my first vote for George McGovern, who got trounced by Richard Nixon, who was subsequently bounced out of office.

Before I got to the table,  I was anticipating that the woman checking identification would ask me,”Did anyone pack your bags for you?”. Then I woke up and realized where I was.

After coming away from the booth, I went looking for my “I voted” sticker. I wear those as a badge of honor.

I stuck it full center in my cap. As we exited the gym I told my daugher,”Well, we did our civic duty.” We then got in the car and went home, entrusting the results to God like a good many other Americans.

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