Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Vote Story

Inspired by...

I voted a couple of Saturdays ago in the small town closest to my apartment complex. We were out and about and since my niece and I had never taken our voter's registration cards out of the car, I announced, "We're gonna go vote."

Now, considering the fact that it's a small Texas town, I was overly self-conscious pulling up in the parking lot amidst all the cars with the McCain/Palin stickers, but I saw a (very) few Obama/Biden ones as well.

My niece, who is new to voting, gasped when we'd walked about five steps. "What?" I asked, thinking she'd spied something shockingly anti-Obama. She pointed at my son. "He can't wear that!" "That" was this Obama t-shirt.

As a new voter, she's tried to school herself on all the polling place rules.

"Take it off," she told him.

"Turn it on the wrong side," I said at the same time.

He thought it was so funny to be out in public with just his undershirt on. I made him zip up his jacket, though. He looked a hot ass mess.

There was a not too long wait, enough time for my niece to have me explain the basics to her and to look over the sheet that told us what we'd be voting on.

She asked what the voting apparatus would look like. I told her, "I've had a touch screen and a little dial thing and, back in the day, little switch things."

The man behind us interrupted me to tell her, "As long as there aren't butterfly ballots, you'll be fine."

"As close as this election is going to be, surely to God they won't have that," I said.

"It's definitely going to be close," he agreed and turned back to his friend.

The whole time, my son was fidgeting, waiting "our turn." When we finally made it into the room, the people working took our voter's registration cards. One of them looked at my niece's, then raised his eyebrows.

Oh, shit, I thought.

"Ma'am," he began, "Are you a first time voter?"

"Yes sir," she said.

His expression softened into a smile. "Congratulations," he said, then turned to his co-workers. "Hey! First time voter here." They began to bang their tables and tell her congratulations, prompting people in line to clap and smile. The woman in front of us pointed to her daughter.

"Her, too. She's three weeks past 18."

More applause.

My son and I soon stepped to the machine. I let him touch the screen for Obama. I stared at it for a full minute, I know, making sure it registered. I cautiously went through the rest of the ballot, letting him push a few more options. At the end, I scanned that summary page over and over, making sure all was correct.

Then, I registered my vote.

As we walked out, my niece turned to my smiling kid and teased, "Are you happy now? You got a chance to vote for Obama."

"Don't hate on his enthusiasm," I told her.

Another voter who'd exited right behind us smiled at our exchange.

"Congratulations on getting an early start, little man," she told my son.

If possible, his grin got bigger.


Melissa McEwan said...

Awesome post, Elle. Once again, you have totally made me blub with joy.


This just made me completely, trascendently happy: "'Congratulations,' he said, then turned to his co-workers. 'Hey! First time voter here.' They began to bang their tables and tell her congratulations, prompting people in line to clap and smile."

PortlyDyke said...

Totally made me cry. Congrats to your niece, btw. I remember my first vote. I think it was the first time I really felt like a grown-up.

elle said...

Thanks, y'all, for stopping by. It was a big day for all of us!

Courtney said...

The new voter congrats totally made my day. Thanks for sharing.

landismom said...

Awesome voting story. I'm so glad the poll worker did that!

Julie said...

What a good story! Glad that you had such kind/enthusiastic poll workers... and I love that you took your son!

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