"Where's Roger's Garage? I've never heard of a mechanic's shop as a polling place."
"No, not Roger's Garage, Roger's garage...the garage at Roger's house. That's where our polling place is."
Ok, so that fictitious conversation didn't really take place after breakfast this morning, but it could have. The only places I've ever cast a ballot has been a school or a church.
Have you ever walked down the block to vote in your neighbor's garage? Maybe it's commonplace, but when I flipped over my sample ballot to see which school to report to, I was really surprised to see the location read "Garage, 123 Main St."
You'd think that maybe we live in a one horse, one-school, no-church town or something that we have to resort to having voters report to their neighbor's garage, but nope. Nearly 90,000 people, most in single family homes (so it's not like we're so densely urban there's no choice!). I live less than 1/2 mile from at least 5 schools, and probably as many churches.
But, even though it's not the posh accomodations of the school library, after I drop Boo at preschool, I'll be heading over to 'Roger's garage' to cast my ballot.
What about you? Have you voted?
I remember turning 18 just days before the deadline to register for that year's presidential election. I'd had political opinions since the campaign to elect Snoopy for President when I was in first or second grade. I was really excited to finally be able to contribute my little opinion to the fray.
Eight years ago, a newly-minted American-citizen friend of mine got to cast his first vote for an American president. I was touched by the sobriety of the experience for him. To have come from a nation where elections are more sham than sure, it meant the world to him to join the democratic process of his chosen home. Sadly, the import of it all was lost on most of our peers.
Now that Civics education is not a priority in schools**, I'm afraid the generation or two behind me is losing the significance of being able to voice our opinions at the polls. We're far enough away from changing the constitution to allow ALL American citizens the vote, regardless of gender, ancestry, etc. that I think we've lost some of the sense of absolute privilege that we share.
I know there's some sentiment that "one vote doesn't count," especially in the shadow of 'hanging chad's' and such, but ask the citizens of Washington if a handful of votes really makes a difference.
I lived in Washington in 2004 when the gubernatorial race was decided by 129 votes after counting, recounting and recounting the recount. I didn't feel like showing up to the polls that night. Hubs had to work late, I was sick and had a squirrely one year old to bring with me. But I kept hearing "if you don't vote you have no right to complain" in my head. I dragged myself and Bug down the road (in the rain of course, it was Washington after all) to cast my ballot.
As the days dragged into nearly 6 weeks before the election was called, I was glad that I had done my one little part. If just the equivalent of the people from my church stayed home (or showed up) that night, the outcome could have been totally different.
I'm not going to get into the issues or the candidates or anything like that. I'm just going to voice my point of view that however flawed our system may be with the popular vote not necessarily declaring the outcome if the electorate goes differently, or because we vote in garages instead of hallowed halls, I am grateful for the opportunity and I hope you'll join me at the polls.
1 Peter 2:13-17
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
I'd love to hear about your voting experiences, but please don't post any comments with political points of view or candidate preferences. That's not really the point here.
* Not his real name.
**I have no idea what's on the rest of this site and don't endorse or dispute any of the content; I just thought this particular article addressed the topic well.