The best story of the day, in my opinion, is that voters are standing in line for hours, and they are doing so patiently and cheerfully. That makes me proud, even though I’m not one of them.
I’m glad that people want to vote and are willing to stand in line for hours, though, frankly, I don’t think that kind of wait should be necessary. Our voting system is shamefully outdated. Nonetheless, I’m proud of people who are so determined. That those people are also patient and cheerful is commendable.
I have voted on site at a polling location only twice in my adult life. More often, it’s been necessary to vote by mail, if it’s been possible at all. However, my first trip to vote at a polling location was when I was about ten years old.
I went with my mother to the local high school. I remember asking if I could go in with her to watch and feeling as though I was being let in on a big secret when she agreed. We went into a little booth with a curtain, like the booths where you cram in with eight friends, make silly faces, and get a strip of five photos for your effort. Except there was nothing silly about this.
There was a simple machine with switches, and my mother whispered instructions and let me flip the switches. I felt very solemn and important. I took care to flip the switches correctly. There were a lot more switches than the one for President and Vice President that I anticipated. I wasn’t aware of the other elections and initiatives that were being decided. As I recall, Mom had a crib sheet she’d prepared to make sure she got the answers right and to speed up the process.
When we were all done and had checked our answers (she was a teacher, after all), there was a lever to pull, and we pulled it together. I cast my vote with my mother.
It was all very simple and relatively quick, but it made an impression. More than any election since.