After voting back in 2012, I commented about the peaceful community scene around me, in an elementary school where retired volunteers helped voters navigate the election process. I walked to various stations, showed my ID to the right people, signed my name, and then somebody gave me my ballot. No controversy, no tension, all smiles.
Tables and chairs sprinkled the middle of the room for people to sit and fill out their ballots. People could also stand in private voting booths around the edge of the room, but most chose to sit instead of stand. That’s what I did. One husband chatted with people until his wife told him to be quiet, she was trying to concentrate. Everyone laughed. Everyone respected everyone else’s privacy.
After months of campaigning, we the people made our choices in 2012, and the world pretty much continued.
2020 is different. We have deep divisions in the United States, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, a sitting president publicly challenges the integrity our election system, and businesses in cities across the country are boarding up their windows, anticipating more riots.
I like to vote on election day, in person. I know I could mail in my ballot and track it on a website, and around 100 million Americans voted early this year, but I want to put my own ballot through the machine and watch the counter tick.
But I voted yesterday, Monday, instead of today, Tuesday, because I don’t want any last-minute election-day glitch to put my vote at risk. Apparently, many other people feel like me, because many of us waited in a long line to vote in-person yesterday. My ballot was number 189. I arrived around 8:45 am and finished voting around 10 am.
My daughter needed an emergency appendectomy last night. She’s fine, but not in any shape to travel to City Hall and vote in person on election day today. But she wanted to vote, and so I called City Hall first thing this morning to find a way to make it happen. No problem, just fill out some forms and I can act as her agent. Everyone bent over backwards to help us. I turned in her vote a few minutes ago. I’m proud of her.
2020 is different than 2012, but 2020 is also the same as 2012. Everyone at City Hall – this year’s polling place because of COVID – was friendly and helpful, everyone waiting in the long line was patient, there were no armed guards, and no need for any law-enforcement muscle. Just like we’ve done since 1788, we the people quietly made our choices this season.
And so, for anyone who thinks our country is dying, think about your experience voting in tumultuous 2020. I’ll bet most were similar to mine. We quietly expressed our wishes. Compare that to other countries where voting doesn’t work as well as it does here.
Kamala and Joe, Bernie, Elizabeth, and all the Hollywood celebrities who sent me dozens of emails and text messages, I really appreciate your personal attention. Your texts and emails are still coming as I compose this Tuesday afternoon. I feel like we’re on a first-name basis. Is your offer to listen to my thoughts about the issues of the day still good after the election?
I also appreciate the hundreds of emails from Donald jr., Eric, Lara, and Melania Trump, the Pence family, Newt Gingrich, Ted Cruz, Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Huckabee, and others on the GOP side. Those are also still coming in. How does President Trump find time to sign all those autographed hats?
Voting may be the closest thing we have in the United States to sacred. We, the people, make our choices. We, the people, have the power. And we, the people, should be united about preserving that power. It does not belong to any politician. It’s ours. That’s why I’m a VIP in the runup to the election.
Aw nuts, now I’m tearing up again. Just like I do every election.
Update Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, the day after election day
It seems I’m still a VIP. Both sides want my help stopping the other side from stealing the election. These emails came in within five minutes of each other today.