I was supposed to work from nine to five today but the woman I have been assisting this week and last is so swamped she didn’t have time to put together enough work for me. That’s okay, I had a busy work week last week and as always, I’d rather be writing.
Suddenly I had a free afternoon. I had an overdue library book in my car so I swung by and dropped it off. As I got out of the car, an elderly man rolled down his window and asked, “Do you know where the early voting is?”
“Gee, no, do you?” I asked. I didn’t even know about the early voting. I’m new here, this is my first Florida election, but I told him the town hall was across the street so it might be in there.
“There should be signs,” he said. “There are usually signs on the street.”
“They don’t want us to vote.” I laughed. A sarcastic laugh. A sign of my discontent regarding the things I read in the paper. I don’t watch the news anymore. It’s too depressing. I end up asking, what the hell is wrong with my country?
“You’re right,” he said with a smile. “They don’t want us to vote.” Although he and I don’t fall into the demographic of people who are being kept from the polls.
I was worried about getting to the polls this year. I work all day in Pompano on Tuesdays, a forty minute drive from Boynton Beach. I was worried about the lines and the Voter I.D. situation. After all Toto, we aren’t in New Hampshire anymore.
That’s it. I decided. I’m voting today.
I drove to city hall and asked the girl at the information desk where the early voting was. She sighed, an aggravated sigh, as if she’d been asked this question all morning.
“Use the phone around the corner,” she said, pointing to a hallway. “Dial 6060 for the town clerk.”
In a cubby hole created by the wall and a partition there was a table with an old-fashioned black phone. I punched in 6060 and got the town clerk who gave me the address just a mile north of city hall.
Political signage increased as I got closer. It was easy to spot the Vote Here signs. The parking lot was far from full.
A short elderly man sat outside at a table. He handed me and an older black man a form to fill out with our name and address. He apologized for the fact he was out of English language paperwork. This form was in Spanish but I figured it out.
“Take that inside and follow the signs,” he said. “Make sure you got I.D.”
I was concerned about hanging chads. After all, I live in Palm Beach County. We all remember the hanging chads of 2000. A fine mess all around. But the ballots looked similar to the ones I’d used in New Hampshire except instead of filling in a circle, there where two arrows pointing in different directions and you voted for your candidate by filling the empty space in-between to complete the arrow. I was in and out in about ten minutes.
Midterm elections are important but very few people vote in them despite the fact everyone was all gung-ho about the Iraqis and their purple fingers. People fight and die in other countries to get the right to vote. In America, many people don’t vote or they complain about Washington then vote the same guys in. If you don’t vote, you can’t bitch about Congress. Period.
If you follow my Blogs, my Facebook page and my Twitter account, you’ve got a pretty good idea who I voted for. No, I did not vote for Rick Scott. Look at me, I’m a woman. And yes, I did vote for the legalization of medical marijuana.
When I came back out, the man at the table said, “Hey, miss. Send me some customers, okay?”
“Why? Has it been slow?”
“Yeah. We need more voters.”
“I’m a writer,” I told him. “I’ll blog about it.”
So here I am. Blogging about it. Because low voter turnout is not a good thing for democracy. As my voter sticker says: I made freedom count. Did you?
If your state has early voting, get out there and get it done. Otherwise, make sure to Vote on Tuesday, November 4th. Get off your butt and vote. If it’s easy in Florida, the state where it was so notoriously difficult to vote the Supreme Court had to decide the 2000 election, (and look where that got us), then it can’t be that hard in your state. Unless you live in Texas.
Tell the Supreme Court you don’t think it should be difficult to vote. It’s the only power We the People have. Use it.
Of course if you live in Denver, it’s even easier. They have drive-thru voting.