Well there. I’ve done my civic duty as an American citizen and cast a ballot in today’s General Election. It’s the first time I’ve ever voted at a polling place. For the previous general elections, I was still a student, so my official residency and voter registration was in my home state. I’ve always voted by absentee ballot.
It took me awhile to actually find the polling place today. I’d never been to the community center where I voted, so I didn’t really know what I was looking for. I finally wound up pulling over and getting out Ye Olde GPS and spent 15 mins making three point turns in back alleys in an attempt to triangulate the proper location. It didn’t help that nearly every parking lot in the immediate vicinty was surrounded by political lawn signs, but the polling place didn’t have a sign out front. I guessed wrong half a dozen times before I finally stumbled on the right place purely by accident. My dad would be proud, though – I can still do a proper three point turn without hitting the curb.
The whole process was much less painful than I feared it would be. There were no lines around the block. It might have been nice if there were – I’d have had an easier time finding the place. I’ve been reading horror stories about voting machines switching votes, machines breaking down with no paper backup ballots, and a host of other election day woes. I was expecting my civic duty to be a grim job, but I was willing to slog it out to be part of this historic election.
What I found instead was an overheated school gym with more volunteers than voters. It was a picture of quiet efficiency. Line #1 if your last name begins with A-C, etc. The ballots were paper ("fill in the oval next to the candidate of your choice using the pen in the voting booth, please"), and once I’d filled in the appropriate ovals, a very nice older gentleman directed me to a waist-high machine that sucked the ballot out of my hands and scanned it optically. Easy peasy. Not even close to rocket science, which was a little bit of a letdown. 😀
I was so discombobulated about how difficult it wasn’t that I completely forgot to pick up my "I Voted" sticker on the way out. Ah, well, maybe next time.
Anyhow, whoever gets the most votes in the election today, it is my fervent hope that America wins. We haven’t in a long while, and it would be really swell if we did.