Choose or Lose

Image shows the red and white stripes of an american flag.I’ve done it before. In basements, dirt-floored and shiny linoleum. In school gyms. In church spaces. This week I stayed home to vote.

Wait, what? 

Yes. In the state of Maryland, anyone with a valid registration can request an absentee ballot. It’s one of the ways voting is more accessible. Also, we have early voting stations so voters enjoy more flexibility to allot time from work or other obligations like childcare to cast their ballots. In the United States, as much as we tout a love of democracy and have no shortage of political news coverage, Election Day is not a work holiday. 

This year instead of waiting in long lines, asking for help adjusting the contrast or font size on the voting machine, or wondering where the line is to return my electronic voter card, I sat down at my kitchen table and opened up my official mailer. 

In my pajamas and holding my LED magnifier, I read through my ballot instructions at my own pace in peace and quiet. The dogs didn’t even bother me. Using a fine point black felt tipped marker, I filled in chosen ovals. I affixed postage to the return envelope and signed on the line to finish my ballot. Two days after mailing my ballot, I checked the status on the Maryland Board of Elections website. Ballot received. My voice, heard.

Voting has never been easier. 

Are you a registered voter, why or why not? If you are and you are American, did you vote in the mid-term elections? How was your experience? Tell me about it.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. We were gone during the first days of early voting. The day after we returned home, we voted at our local library. It is new and also serves the small, state college. There is lots of accessible parking. Brilliantly, they put all the accessible spaces, about 12 of them, in a row along the smooth, flat sidewalk. There are regular spaces that are closer, so those people who have permits but don’t need the wide spaces choose them. The accessible spaces are good for a person who has a visual impairment, as there is no crossed no of traffic. Inside is accessible. We waited in line for 15 minutes. There was no animosity shown to anyone by poll workers or other voters. It’s called integrity and respect.
    Thanks for asking about our experiences.

    1. Thanks for sharing your voter experience. It’s great to hear things ran smoothly for you.

  2. Typo…. there is no crossing of traffic.

  3. albert says:

    My Dear and I walked up the street to the nearby elementary school to vote. The line to check in and get a ballot curled around the gym, and I noticed two ladies with their helpers along the side wall, as if waiting for instructions about where to go. One had both eyes covered with black patches that could be lifted, like the flip-up sunglasses some baseball outfielders use. The other was seared next to her aluminum walker. I wondered what the procedure soul be for them. Both were elderly, one very much so. Soon a poll worker began to guide them through the curling line right up to the check-in table. The eye-patch lady moved very slowly, as if in pain. I wondered what motivated her to go through all this just to vote. Then I started to get anxious, because the line had stopped while these two were being attended to. I started feeling a bit claustrophobic, almost trapped in this place which was by now overcrowded and had become noisy because two other ladies had brought small children with them. Why didn’t these people vote early, I thought,nor by mail.

  4. albert says:

    . . . or by mail? They are slowing down the system, making it less easy for the rest of us.

    That thought lasted only a few seconds, but I felt ashamed of it the rest of the day. The two elderly ladies had made a far larger and more significant effort to get to the polls and cast their ballot, than I ever in my life did. Same, I guessed for the young mothers, who could easily have excused themselves from voting because of the demands of child care. They taught me an important lesson. I should have waited for them outside and told them how proud of them I was, and how impressed. Instead we walked home in silence or half-hearted conversation. I was too embarrassed to tell about my momentary self-centered irritation

    1. Thank you for your reflections, Albert. There is a lot to unpack from your voting line wait.

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