I love voting. In fact, Election Day is one of the most exciting days of the year for me. When I was a child my parents used to take me with them to vote. I looked forward to being welcomed to our polling place by the town retirees, who know everyone’s name and who sit and drink coffee and snack, and happily chat with each other and voters alike. They chat about what’s new in the last year, the weather, voter turnout, and general light-hearted gossip.
I would carefully watch as my mother thoughtfully pushed the buttons, making her choice, and making her voice heard. When she was finished I eagerly pulled the lever to open the curtain and actually cast the vote! Excitement! It’s such a special feeling to have voted.
Of course we have been taking our son to vote since he was a baby. In the last couple of years I have let him help me push the buttons and of course pull the lever to cast the vote. He is really proud to have voted for Barack Obama, and is looking forward to another presidential election.
Last night was supposed to be no exception to his voting history, and the thought of voting was actually more exciting because at home AND at school he had been discussing voting for two days. He could barely contain himself and ran out the door to get in the car almost as soon as his dad got home. Kid loves to vote so off we went!
We were met at the door by detention-style cubbies, signs stating something along the lines of, “No political discussions,” and an official-looking man standing next to a pile of legal-length folders who said, “Here, put your ballot in this folder so no one can see who you voted for.”
Buzz kill. Paper ballots.
Ahh, man, they suck so bad!
So, we almost reluctantly signed in (with people who don’t know us and didn’t want to chat), received our ballots, and found cubbies. Ben looked on as I tried to sort out the confusing mess of a ballot and filled in the circles. Confused, and with the wind stolen from our sails, we walked over to the machine to cast our ballot. This he was able to do, but he still had issues.
“Mom, where are the other machines?”
“I guess we don’t use them anymore. I saw this coming, but it’s still such a bummer, I’m sorry buddy.”
“Tell those people to get the old machines back!”
“Honey, they know we want them back. But they can’t do anything about it. The government has decided this is how we should vote.”
“Well, we need to tell the government to get them back!”
At this point, I’m ushering him out of our polling place.
As we pull in the driveway he is still talking about contacting the government. He gets out of the car and starts to cry and runs to the house. This has gone too far. No one should cry on Election Day! At least wait for the results to roll in!
I kneel down and take the poor kid by the shoulders.
“Look at me. Next year YOU are going to vote! You are going to vote for President!”
“How am I going to do that?”
“Well, because you will be bigger, and big enough to help fill in those circles!”
Big smiles, big hugs, and crisis averted. Kinda.
I’m still feeling a little ripped off this morning. But I’m still feeling ripped off about the extinction of card catalogs, so there you have it.
And at least they still gave us “future voter” and “I voted today” stickers.
How many of you voted yesterday? When you vote do you take your children?