It is done.

November 2, 2004

It is done.

I could have walked to the polls, but I had to go to work directly after. So I drove instead.

My new polling place is my old elementary school — I hadn’t stepped in the building in at least 18 years. I remember being a student there (on non-presidential election days) and watching the adults come in and out to vote. I also vividly remember the PTA bake sale that accompanied the voting. So you can imagine the odd mixture of feelings I had when I entered this morning as a voting adult.

Because we moved, I thought we had to fill out something to change our voter cards. But our updated cards arrived in the mail shortly after we changed our driver licenses back in May. Maybe that was due to “Motor Voter.” I was a bit worried, though, because I never received the ‘sample ballot’ last week. Not that I use it, but I was concerned nonetheless.

There were about 8 people in front of me at 8:30am. I went to the “P – Z” table, told the slow-moving elderly woman my last name and waited. At first, she couldn’t find my name and questioned whether I was really registered. At no time was I asked to provide ID. Then again, I never have had to show ID in any NJ election. Once she found me I signed in and waited in a second line for an open booth. There were 3 booths, but one was not working at the time. When it was my turn, the slow-moving elderly man took my receipt and pointed me toward an empty booth.

The voting booths in my precinct are the same I remember from when I used to watch my parents vote. We use the large stand-up booths. There is a large red lever at the upper left of the machine. Pushing the red lever to the right causes the machine to rumble and the curtains to close around you. To vote, pull the tiny lever next to your candidate’s name. With a tiny ‘click,’ a black “X” appears. Pushing the red lever back to the left registers your vote, clears out the X’s and opens the curtain with another rumble.

After a lifetime witnessing the voting process on these machines, I couldn’t imagine an election day without the familiar rumbling and clicking noises. Add in the musty smell and the worn levers, and voting becomes a multisensory experience!

I pulled all the levers in quick sucession save one. I angsted over that one, and I still angst over the choice I made. Voting is private, but if you were to color code my ballot, you’d see red, blue, and even a less-popular color!

No hangups, no pollsters, no intimidation, no disenfranchisement. The only casualty was the brownie from the bake sale that didn’t survive the trip to work.

Now…we wait.

NaNoWriMo update: 700 words written; 28 days to go.

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