When my sister and I were little, Dad made a point of taking us along to vote.
Back in those days in Maryland, the voting booths were literal booths — complete with long curtains — and I thought it was so cool, so mysterious, to walk in and enclose yourself in that space.
Dad patiently went through the ballot, whispering to us about who was who and what was what — pretty impressive considering we were, you know, in elementary school. But my parents never talked down to us. As Dad pointed out the various candidates, he’d let Katie and I turn the little levers that would officially cast his vote. And when it was done, we’d go to lunch.
I usually vote on my own these days. Everything is electronic. I’ve cast my ballot in every election since I turned 18 — because I can. Not to get all This is America! on you, but . . . this is America. One of the tenets of our freedom is the ability to choose our elected officials. And if you think your one vote doesn’t matter, it does. Maybe now more than ever. (And I guess we say that every four years, but I believe it to be true.)
My polling place wasn’t crowded this morning — which makes me a little nervous. In 2008, I waited at least 30 minutes in line. One of the gentlemen working noted the line was out the door at 6 a.m., and I really hope that was true. Early voting was certainly popular here.
As I walked up today, I felt a twist of anxiety, just like I always do — nerves while staring at that empty ballot. Tapping out each choice. Though I’ve poured over the ballot several times, reading up on everything I thought I might need to know, there’s still a moment of hesitation. Am I making the right choice? Is this the right thing? Is he the right person?
But we can never know. We just have to choose.
And I hope you’ll choose, too.