Thursday, October 30, 2008

Today I voted - and it COUNTED!

Well, since I write the blog entries they are all of course going to be a little biased towards my point of view. Especially this one, where I will admit a slightly embarrassing truth about myself.

I am afraid of voting.

It all stems back to the 4th grade. Yep, all the way back to the 1992 presidential elections. Mr. Palmer thought it would be a great social studies lesson to hold a mock election so we could learn the voting process. We had to register a party, research the candidates, and then, when the big day came, vote for our educated choices. I don't remember why, but my 9-year-old logic decided that Ross Perot would be the perfect president. I was ready to make my voice heard!

The big day arrived. Our classroom bathroom was transformed into a voting booth. I watched in anticipation and excitement as each of my classmates entered the "booth" one by one until finally, it was my turn.
I picked an empty ballot out of the sink, took my pen in hand, ready to mark a bold X next to the name of the great Ross Perot . . . but something was terribly amiss. There were several boxes. Lots of names I didn't recognize. And a hole punch. What the heck was a hole punch for?
After some scrolling I did finally locate Perot's name, which I circled a few times for lack of a better option, then stuffed quickly into the ballot box. Then I left the booth feeling confused and embarrassed.

When we came to class the next day the votes had been counted and the results posted on the black board. I don't remember the tally for the candidates, but I do remember a fourth tally that had been written on the board. Invalid ballots: 1.

I had done it wrong. I knew it in my heart of hearts. I filled out the ballot incorrectly and my vote didn't count.

This one small epiphany has haunted me for 16 years. I am sure my 4th grade teacher meant well, but I was scarred for life.

This year I studied the candidates. I checked out the local elections. I decided who I wanted to vote for. I registered. And I voted.

You can not imagine my relief when that little digital American flag waved in the digital air, signifying a ballot well-cast. A vote that counted. A constitutional right excercised. A 16 year old fear laid to rest at last.


Kelli said...

That may be the funniest thing I have read it a very long time. On my facebook I said I have funny kids who make me laugh every day. . .I, of course, include you in that. Thanks for the great entertainment!

Havilah said...

Hooray for voting! Boo for 4th grade!

I don't think I'll get to vote today... which means I'm going to have to go stand in a LONG line on election day with my 20-month-old. I love America...

Jennie said...

Way to vote! I wish I would have known before that you have had this blog for so long. I'm excited to read it now. And yes that is April Lyman Larsen.