I’m just back from voting at our local elementary school. The scene was getting to be a little chaotic as the line of voters started merging with 100s of children coming off all the school buses. But it also felt a bit festive. We knew we were all there for something momentous and carried a great privilege. I saw people I haven’t talked to in years, one whose daughter was in pre-school with my oldest and they’re now Sophomores in college, turning 20 this school year. She’s helping out on the “D” side. Another old colleague, faithful to the “R’s”, was helping direct traffic so cars didn’t get in the way of buses. Like a mini-reunion, folks were waving and saying hi to old friends in a busy, but close community, making sure the school kids didn’t get lost among the adults, and also bringing along plenty of their own kids to participate with them in voting. I sensed an underlying tension captured in the silence between the “hello’s,” and today saw the first really cold (but fortunately clear) morning, so lots of gray and black and dark brown coats gave a somewhat somber air to the process.
I did feel a bit strange and almost bullied to bring out my photo I.D. as requested. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court just vetoed that contentious process, so I shouldn’t have done it and should have said something to the nice octogenarian who asked me for I.D. My husband is furious they asked me (and also that I didn’t protest), so he’s headed out to vote and will not show I.D.
I always take my kids to vote with me, and this year Sophia came, conveniently, as the polling place is her school. So she went in the old-fashioned booth with me, holding the recycled manilla folder for voter #206 with the long (8.5 x 14 in) paper and was ready to fill in the bubbles based on my instructions of who to vote for. We didn’t vote a straight Democrat or Republican ballot, but I could tell most people around us did, as they quickly got in and out of the little booths. She meticulously colored in the bubbles with the $0.10 black Paper Mate pen provided in the booth and when the first bubble, for President and Vice President was filled in, it really felt a bit electric – for both of us.