Her First Trip to the Polls

Pic courtesy of freeimages.com.  Taken by szaszlajos.

Please allow me to preface this post stating that although it is a story about voting in the midterm elections, it is not political.  (Gets up on soapbox).  I solemnly promise NOT to tell you how you should vote.  I promise NOT to belittle you for whatever your political choices were in the election.  I sincerely do not like the negativity that comes with elections.  Not just the advertisements.  But the discussions within social networks about how one side is “dumber” than the other side.  Consequently, I won’t talk negatively, or positively, about any specific candidate/party.  Finally, I sincerely apologize in advance to those who read this and live south of the cheese curtain.  To those readers you will understand at the bottom of the post.  (Steps off of soapbox).

Since I was a little boy, I’ve always been a fan of the political process.  You only need two fingers to count the number of elections I failed to cast my vote.  And one of those times I literally ran across town to the poll only to get there at 8:01 as they were locking the door.  It is important to do your civic duty and get out and vote.  Having a 3-year-old who asks tons of questions just seemed like a good time to take her to the polls and have her watch the process of voting.

She appeared enthused about the prospect of going with me to the place to vote.  It was a little daddy/daughter time.  She even seemed ready to do all the steps.  (Even standing in line.)  When we finally got to the first step I explained how I had to sign a paper showing that it really was “me”.  Plus I could point out how Mom had already been to the polls and voted earlier in the day.

After receiving a number, she actually walked with pride as she carried the number to the woman who gave us the ballot to fill out.

We went to a polling station where there was a chair so she could sit and watch as I took the black marker and connected the arrow for each candidate I feel is best for the job.  With each arrow connecting my little “critique” partner became more and more vocal.

I cast my vote for Governor.  She said, “Hmmm.  Dad, that’s a good one.”  (Of course I think she was referring to my drawing of the line from one part of the arrow to another.  But it made me smile.)

Then the next vote was cast, or arrow was drawn.  “Good one Dad.  You’re pretty good at this.”

A louder and seemingly more positive reaction greeted each vote cast.  It felt like I had my own cheering section of one.

The people around us started giggling.

The second last vote cast was where she noted that the desk I had set my ballot on had a few black marks from earlier voters.  That was when the comparison got me laughing because as I completed another arrow she said, “WOW!  At least you aren’t like this person.  (Pointing to the black mark on the desktop).  They don’t know how to vote right.”

I felt a little hand pat me on the back as I cast my last vote and the most encouraging congratulatory voice she said, “Good job.  I can tell you’ve done this before.”

I gave her the ballot to put into the machine that tallies and counts the vote.  As our vote was swept away she said, “Is that it?”  Almost asking if she wanted more steps.  I could only think of one.  I grabbed a sticker, which normally I would not do, and placed it on her coat.

“A STICKER?!?”, she exclaimed, “I LOVE VOTING!”  She turned back toward the crowd of people with their heads in the booths voting, “GOOD JOB EVERYONE!”  And, with a wave of her hand like a politician, she walked out the door to the exit with me.

I voted.  You should too.
One of the highlights in the voting process

As we walked out of the library where we voted an older gentleman was walking toward the door.  Another couple was right behind us walking out.  My daughter asked, “OK, now can we vote again?”

“No”, I replied.

“Awww, why not?”, she sadly bemoaned.  The gentleman walking in smiled at me after hearing her sad tone.

“Because we don’t live in Chicago”, I replied.

Good thing there was a bench for the gentleman walking in to sit down upon.  He started laughing pretty hard.  The couple behind us started laughing too.

Again I am sorry Chicago.  I must apologize, but that punchline was right there and I couldn’t help myself.

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