Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Casting my ballot for fun!

I love to vote. The same dorky side of me that loves office supplies and used to look forward to the first day of school absolutely loves exercising her civic duty. I love everything about the experience, from filling out that little card at the beginning of the line to filling in all the bubbles on the ballot (just like an SAT test) to going over to the machine and feeding my ballot in, saying that one last prayer to the election gods ensuring that my vote will actually count. (I’m a worrier.)

I’m not much of a flag waver. I don’t have bumper stickers on my car or own a flag pin of any sort. But election day gets my patriotic juices flowing a lot more than even the Fourth of July. I think it’s because voting reminds me that our government is participatory, that we all get a chance to have our voices heard. And that’s a pretty extraordinary thing.

I also like the poll workers. I’ve done that job a few times and served as an election monitor, too, and it’s really a pretty grueling and thankless job. It’s stressful because you don’t want to make a mistake and see your polling station on the evening news that night. It’s also extremely tiring. It was hard for me when I was college age. I have no idea how these folks in their 70s and 80s hang in there for 10 to 12 hour days, getting up before sunrise and working tirelessly to help us all cast our votes. They certainly deserve our thanks – even the cranky ones.

I also like to vote because it’s about community. Today, driving back to work from my polling place, I saw couples walking hand in hand toward, moms pushing baby carriages, a guy with his dog – everyone headed out to vote. These days, we mostly just drive past each other or wave a quick hello to the neighbor as we walk into the house, but election day is the one day when everyone gathers in one place for a common purpose. It’s just nice to know that everybody’s still out there and that we’re all citizens of the same country. Even if I vehemently disagree with someone’s politics and may cast the occasional look of disdain at their choice of lawn sign, that all seems to disappear for me on election day. It’s like shaking hands at the end of the Stanely Cup finals – the players may have just beaten the hell out of each other, but they’re still going to acknowledge a game well played.

Plus, free stickers! Who doesn't love the idea that millions of grown adults get rewarded with free stickers? It's like being in kindergarten only instead of voting on what to name the new class gerbil, we're picking a guy to be the leader of the free world. Absurdly awesome.

Happy voting, everyone!


Anonymous said...

Wait, wait. Everyone else got stickers? Man, how come I didn't get a sticker?

Liz said...

I almost didn't get a sticker! I spotted a roll of them on a table and asked if I could have one. The stickers seem to be a bit hit-or-miss this year, sadly.

amanda said...

I voted last week via absentee ballot (because apparently that's how Washington votes now?) and I'm quite upset that I missed the stickers. Dammit.

Kathe said...

I voted early on 10/17 and I got a lovely sticker too! A shame I didn't save it for today since Starbucks is giving away a free tall coffee if you vote. I mean really - you can't beat that. Even if you don't drink coffee, give it to a poll worker! :) HAPPY ELECTION DAY!

erin said...

As a Canadian, I am most jealous of the stickers, and second most jealous of the fact that you're getting a new leader.

crone51 said...

I didn't get a sticker. Either did my daughters and they were mad 'cause it was their first presidential election.

I had a heck of an election day and a lovely casting the vote experience. Then I went to work for the candidate of my choice for the rest of the day. Going back in a few.

The Champagne is on ice.

No, I didn't write it Harold Saxon or Laura Roslin.

Kimberly said...

I have never received a sticker here in Southern New Jersey. And while I try to be cocky and say, well, we're so awesome at our civic duties we don't NEED to be enticed with a sticker...I still want one.

agent57 said...

I also voted absentee ballot. They really should send a sticker along with the package... I feel cheated!

I should have worn my hand-made Vote Saxon shirt today, but I'm always afraid non-geeks will read the color and name as some sort of ultra-conservative white-power statement.

Erin: Don't feel too bad, I'm jealous of your whole country. (You have Kate Beaton, ReBoot, and Kinder Eggs!) Plus, would you really want the "getting a new leader" part if it came along with the past eight years of our last one?

Claudine said...

I agree totally. So much fun, especially when the end result is even more exciting than the process!

SFG said...

Write a sunny little description of a civic duty without telling us what we really wonder: who for?

Very Midwestern. :)

But hey, why lose half your readers? ;)

agent57 said...

Hey, now... we Midwesterners can't help it if we're polite and unassuming. It's long been bred into the deepest part of our being.

(Really, what a pain!)

Liz said...

Ah, SFG, you figured me out. :)

I will simply say that, as much as I love her, I did NOT vote to keep Tina Fey employed on SNL.

Anonymous said...

So much love for voting. I live in New Hampshire, one of the swing states, and it was so cool to see how everyone was so fired up for this election. I also love that NH not only allows you to register as an independent, you can register to vote on the same day as the election. Judging by some of the lawn signs in my neighborhood, there even were people who supported one party for the presidental election while supporting candidates of the other party for more local elections. It's loads of fun to live in such a politically mixed bag.

And the sense of community is just wonderful. I got to the polling place five minutes after it opened, and the line was back into the parking lot, with cars parked up and down both sides of the road for a mile in either direction! We were all bouncing up and down to stay warm, people yakking with total strangers, all exercising this most basic right. It really does give you the willies! The voter turnout for this election was staggering.

The best political cartoon I saw about the election was one where the words "we the people" were spelled out by long lines of people waiting to vote. Bless the USA! After eight years, I'm so happy to be part of this country again.

Sarami said...

I'm 18, so I got to vote for the first time this year! I was so jazzed to be taking part in the electoral process. And in such a polarizing election, too--I really had an opinion about this one. It was great. (No sticker, though.)

SFG said...

Hey, now... we Midwesterners can't help it if we're polite and unassuming. It's long been bred into the deepest part of our being.
There's nothing wrong with that. It's probably better for society overall.

It's just funny to me. You've got to understand, I'm reading this from NYC where you would have had to make at least one sarcastic joke at someone's expense. ;)

agent57 said...

We only do the sarcastic jokes when backs are turned. :)