Living in This World


I love to vote on Election Day. My daddy was in politics and going to the polls with him was always exciting! I really look forward to voting each year, and I poo-poo those who suggest I vote early. Voting early is for college students home on Fall Break; voting absentee is for the homebound and those working out of state. Voting early at City Hall when you don’t have to is for, I don’t know, hermits, and those who just don’t appreciate being part of a community event!!! (I love to vote on Election Day.)

Here in City By the Sea, where I have lived for 19 years at five different addresses, I have visited many polling places:

  • a 1960’s era elementary school
  • a plain vanilla room at the University of Southern Vacationland, later turned into a gym
  • the fellowship hall at Large Church
  • the fellowship hall at St. Famous Irish Saint’s Catholic Church (where two precincts came together to create a major traffic jam)
  • back to the fellowship hall at Large Church

3 of those 5 addresses have been in the same precinct. I’m used to voting at Large Church. It has a great parking lot. Plus, I went there to church for a long time, so it’s one of my Don’t Have to Think About Where I’m Going Destinations.

This morning as I drove Snowman to school we passed Temple Conservative Congregation, and I noticed an unusually large number of cars parked alongside its triangle of land. I had to brake suddenly when a car pulled away from the curb in a somewhat dangerous fashion and exclaimed, “What do you suppose is going on here this morning?” It was 7:38 a.m., a little early for a funeral.

Snowman said, “Oh, yeah. One of those robo-calls we got last night told you to vote here.”

I heaved a sigh, because I know how bad the parking is in that little area. I decided to do my utmost to get back there before the after work rush. We like to vote in City By the Sea, and in Vacationland, too, and I stood in line at St. F-I-S’s for 90 minutes once in an OFF YEAR election. Sure enough, when I returned to Temple C C at 4 p.m., there was no place to park on the side street or in the small parking lot. We went around the triangle, discovering the available parking was on the wrong side of the street for our direction.

I got a little cranky, but this may have been due to a building headache.

Finally I managed to park on the narrow side street with parking on both sides, imagining how much fun people coming an hour later in the dark would be having. At the entrance, a volunteer greeted me.

“How are you?”

“A little irritated about the parking,” I answered. “I can’t think it’s going to get any better after dark.”

He patiently explained that Large Church is undergoing renovations. (First I’ve heard about it.) He allowed as how they hoped this was a one shot polling place.

Inside volunteers I know personally greeted me, and I tried to be a little more cheerful. And after all, there was no line to speak of, despite the enormous number of cars outside. I took my ballots (PAPER! BALLOTS!) into a teeny little curtained “booth.” In the teeny little booth next door, my neighbor was having the ballot explained, loudly. I had to put my fingers in my ears while reading a constitutional question on the statewide ballot. I wondered who was really voting next door. I thought about calling a volunteer. I plugged my ears harder and decided to vote “yes,” but now I wish I hadn’t. How many amendments does a state constitution need?

I waited in line to feed my ballots to a machine. We have the paper ballots on which you fill in a circle. It cheered me to know that my ballot could be re-counted by hand if necessary. I wished The Princess had been with me, but she was at dance class. She might have liked to get one of those “I Voted Today” stickers. (I’m wearing mine.)

When I got outside, there were very few cars parked on the side street. But my head still hurt.

Where is it you go to vote early?

21 thoughts on “Voting”

  1. We vote early at a nearby middle school. This time I was careful not to repeat the traumatic mistake I made last time–getting there just as school let out, and being stampeded by several hundred thirteen-year-olds!!!

  2. My son, Fabulous Tenor, voted for the first time today! We went together to the polls. I spend my life in politics, so it was probably more exciting for me than for him. I just can’t believe I have a child – no, two children now – who are old enough to vote.
    And as always, I remember your Daddy (and mine) every time I cast a ballot.

  3. Ugh, Songbird, that voting place sounds like No Fun. Ours at the Little Lads and Little Ladies Club here in South City by the Sea is pretty good w/ the parking. My car dashboard is wearing my “I voted today” sticker, *and* I got to witness an elderly woman conveying a very New England snubbing to one of the city council candidates gladhanding in the hallway. How could anyone give that up for checking off a paper ballot in your own house?

  4. We vote at the elementary school down the block. New computer voting machines made the lines long as voters tried to read the directions on the touch screens.
    We have a larger number of poll watchers than usual to try to temper the fraud.
    I feel like Jimmy Carter will show up at any minute.

  5. My precinct has not had any “I voted” stickers for the past 3 elections, and I (and Curious Girl) have not been happy about that.

  6. I vote at the nearby elementary school, but I didn’t vote early; I had a service at church at 7am and after breakfast there I came home to wait (all fireplacing day) for a Fedex deliveray). But I did vote, tonight about 6:30 and luckily there was plenty of parking. I heard from someone else that it was quite crowded this morning. And school was not closed, which in this day of high security surprises me.

  7. Before doing just about anything else today dear husband and I went to vote. He is rather apolitical, likely would not vote were it not for my “Hon, how bout we go vote and get it over with?” “Yes dear.”
    We went to the town hall where we recall last voting here. Two others were just ahead of us. NOBODY WAS THERE… we were supposed to be at the firehall! (Will the people who don’t read the newspaper please stand up?) There the ample parking was nearly full, the hall was bustling with volunteers (most of whom I know now). We got right in to vote (though the board of elections still can’t get my name straight- we tricky hyphenators! crazy thing is they have it right for my husband who hyphenated!) and it felt soooo good. We have old fashioned pull the lever voting machines, just what I remember walking into with my parents as a child. I am so glad to be past the days of impermanent addresses and necessary absentee ballots.
    sorry for frustrations… hooray for your paper trail!

  8. I’m glad to know someone else is still up and thinking about the election!
    I love those lever machines. I think I only used one at home in Virginia, before moving to Maine. The thunking sound is so satisfying. But I’ll take the paper trail. I’ll take it.

  9. Here in Upscale College Town, we did not have any stickers either. I thought it was just a Vacationland thing and that my former home in 10,000-Lakes-Land was the only place that had them. I think you voted rightly on the constitutional thing as it appeared not to be exactly an amendment (as in Bill of Rights, 14th, etc.) but an amendment of an existing part of the const. to make it clearer and avoid the occasion of litigation as happened earlier this year. We voted at Alternative School with No Visible Students, walking distance. The newsletter from Lutheran Church of Peace and Justice where I used to be secretary said they were a polling place and the entire building was off-limits for the day…I never heard of that before.

  10. Hi, fellow night owl, C’s Mother!
    Off-limits. Huh. That is very odd.
    In Vacationland we love to amend the Constitution for all sorts of little things. The Father of My Children once told me to vote against them on principle. But that’s not why I voted for it, I swear. 😉

  11. I ended up getting an absentee ballot, but it didn’t arrive until Monday…and I wasn’t going to pay $15 to have it overnighted to my Town Clerk’s office!

  12. I’m very late to this game, but I vote in Slightly Larger Massively More Conservative Reformed Neighbor Church’s gym.
    This is rendered only partly interesting because I live 20 yards from a polling place–in the gym of Dead President High. My precinct doesn’t vote there…ever. It’s just bizarre.
    We had only paper ballots. Any electronic ballot for us must have been at some alternate voting location (I heard they did that with some regularity here…it’s obviously cheaper to have 1 touchscreen per five or six precints).

  13. I early voted at Local Court Building (was out of town on election day). Didn’t get an “I Voted” sticker which made me sad. We had electronic machines, but they were NOT touch screen ones. Apparently this caused trauma for many folks, because posted above each “booth” was a sign that said in big letters, “This is NOT a touch-screen voting machine!”

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