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?