Join me on my writing journey each week as I post to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacy and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers.
Today I'm thankful for my citizenship in the United States of America and the opportunity to vote. I have so many memories of election day!
My childhood home in Oklahoma was a polling place for many years, and preparations for election day began many days in advance of the election. Dad always brought the plywood voting dividers down from the attic, Mom cleaned and cooked frantically, then went to the courthouse to pick up ballots and required materials, the flag was hung from the front porch, the required number of workers arrived to staff the election, and then neighbors arrived to vote. My mom provided a pot of soup or beans simmering on the stove for the workers. She took her job as judge quite seriously, and more than once chased away folks who were handing out campaign literature too close to the polling place, and even advised husbands that wives should be allowed to vote in private. She didn't like it when men told their wives how to vote. I believe I may have inherited some of her independent nature.
In Washington all votes are now cast by mail-in ballot. I miss chatting with neighbors as I stand in line, looking for my name in the big book, signing on the dotted line signifying I was there to cast my vote, and proudly wearing the "I voted" sticker. I remember many polling places. One very vivid memory was standing in line outside a small residence in Stillwater, OK to vote in my first presidential election in 1976. Polling places were often my children's elementary schools (Roberts in Houston and West Mercer on Mercer Island). I frequently took my children with me to vote so I could share this important process with them and sneak in a mini civics lesson.
Our modern age of convenient mail-in ballots leaves me feeling oddly disconnected from the sense of shared community and patriotism that I felt when I cast my ballot in person at the polling place.
What memories come to your mind when you think of election day?
I will be in line at the fire station down the street brushing elbows with friends and neighbors in a few hours, as I have many times before. We will be shivering in cooler than usual weather, maybe dodging raindrops as well. It will be worth it to wear the "I voted" sticker to school, a visible civics lesson for elementary students. People will be in and out of the school, too, since it is a polling place.ReplyDelete
I will miss voting tomorrow. I voted earlier, but will miss the excitement of the day. I loved your memories, especially at your own home. How great is that! And I loved "even advised husbands that wives should be allowed to vote in private". Hard for me to believe, but... I remember taking my children to vote at their school too, showing them how important it was. And they are both dedicated voters today! Thanks for your important post!ReplyDelete
How interesting that your home was a polling place! I've never heard of such a thing. Then it surprised me to learn that you only have mail-in ballots in Washington. I had to vote early because I'm out of town today. When I was teaching, I dreaded election day because our school was a polling place and classes were disrupted as rooms were used, but it was a good opportunity for the older patrons to see their tax dollars at work.ReplyDelete
Like Elsie, I was so moved by the idea of your home as a voting place - and I love the sound of your mother, a strong and independent woman indeed. Today I will be voting with my son, he has followed me into the voting booth many a time, but this time he will cast his own vote!ReplyDelete
I voted early this year also. Usually election day and conferences fall on the same day. It made for a hectic day. They did change conferences, but I voted early anyway. I don't think I'll do it again because it makes me feel disconnected also. I like going to my polling place and seeing democracy in action!ReplyDelete
I am so glad that I have this opportunity to vote. I stood in long lines this morning in the fresh cold air of the midwest...happy to live in a country where people pull together in emergency situations. XOReplyDelete
I enjoyed visiting my polling place this morning. We always bring our sons with us. It was so busy today! (and cold as we stood outside for a decent length of time)ReplyDelete
We voted last Friday, so we didn't have quite the same feeling as voting on election day, but the mood was still one of patriotism and it left me with a good feeling knowing that I have a voice in our great country. I wish that all who are eligible to vote would vote with civic pride.ReplyDelete
I am thankful for the suffragettes who fought for women’s voting rights. Thanks to them, I got to take my daughter to the polls so we could vote together.ReplyDelete
Wow -everyone votes via mail-in? That is so interesting. Our elementary school was filled with voters in and out all day today because it was a polling place.ReplyDelete