Forget early voting and mail-in ballots, there’s nothing like voting in person on Election Day.
I voted for the first time today in a new location. In my old polling place, on the little island that was ravaged by Hurricane Ian, it would take five minutes to vote and 50 minutes to catch up with my neighbors. When we sold our house and moved off-island, I knew I would miss this friendly tradition.
In my new voting location, the American Legion Post in a place called Rotunda, I didn’t know a soul. But the mood was convivial. Everyone was happy to be there, casting their ballots and exchanging pleasantries with strangers.
Reality often flies in the face of media reports, and the spirit of Election Day was a good example of that.
The folks behind me were chatting about how there were more people in line than the last election. Everyone seemed to have smiles on their faces. The mood was light and almost festive. A poll worker sweetly told a little girl, maybe 4, she could vote if she could produce a driver’s license. The little girl giggled and so did everyone standing within earshot.
There was no apparent civil war going on. And I’m sure there were many people from both parties in line with me.
I remained perplexed about all the state constitutional amendments up for vote this year – and didn’t understand most of them. I slogged my way through the descriptions, which obviously were written by attorneys to confuse. Anyway, I voted against gambling in Charlotte County for my own protection and for giving more homestead tax benefits to first responders. At least that’s how I read those sections.
I left the Legion feeling good about myself and my country.
There’s something so American about voting in person. Maybe it’s because it takes me back to the 1950s when my parents and their extended family were heavily involved in county politics in Indiana. Election Day was always a big deal.
I remember my Dad taking me to the courthouse and introducing me to someone named Alan. “He’s not a bad fellow for a Democrat,” my Dad said. Right in front of the man’s face. And they both laughed.
Imagine that happening today. I think it’s possible and from what I saw today, probable.