A Long Day At My Voting Place
On Tuesday, November 6, 2012, I got up early. I am the Precinct Captain for my polling place, and I had work to do. In addition to putting up the signs for the Republicans running in my precinct, I intended to spend the day passing out sample ballots. When I arrived at 5:30 AM, a half hour before the poll was scheduled to open, I had a surprise. There were already people in line? WOW! So I quickly set up signs for each campaign, my table, and my chair (I am getting to old to stand all day.), and I started passing out sample ballots. Thus started a long and tiring day.
As the day proceeded I received many blessings. Local Republicans did their best to help me out. The district chairman and vice chairman, neighbors, even a kind young man from Congressman Rob Wittman’s office, all joined to make certain I had the help I needed. So I had company, food, water, and the opportunity to take some breaks.
I enjoy passing out sample ballots. Most people, even Democrats, take them with good humor. Dedicated Republicans make a point of taking the Republican sample. Devoted Democrats make a point of rejecting it, and some are quite comical. One fellow, still puzzles me. Instead of using the sidewalk, he detoured and strode across the lawn. What was he thinking? Was he that offended at the prospect of being offered a peace of paper?
Quite a few people had questions about the ballot questions, that is, two proposed amendments to Virginia’s Constitution. So in addition to serving as an advocated for the candidates I supported, I also made myself useful by providing a little voter education. By themselves, those tasks made for a satisfying, albeit still a long and tiring day.
As the day wore on, I became more and more impressed by the determination of people to vote. A pregnant woman asked for help. She had gone inside the school where my precinct’s polling place was located, and she had seen the long line. Because she was experiencing complications from her pregnancy, she knew she could not stay on her feet for and hour and a half. But she did not know what to do. So I took her inside. I knew one of the poll workers would find away to help, and they did. They put her at the head of the line.
Latter, an elderly gentleman (Men refuse to accept conditions of their age.), came out exhausted. He had stood in line too long. So we gave him a chair to rest in while the person accompanying him went for their car.
Numerous people I saw several times that day. They would come, assess the length of the line, and then they would return later, determined to vote.
In the afternoon, I went in and voted myself. The line moved along slowly, but orderly, and the people in it chatted merrily. Children, accompanying their parents to the polls, behaved themselves well. Only when it was late in the day did I see a few of the younger children give in to fatigue and cry.
Finally, the polls closed at 7 PM. Since I intended to serve as a poll watcher, I went inside. For another hour, I watched as the poll workers processed voters. Everyone who was in line when the poll closed was allowed to vote; everyone patiently worked together to make that happen.
After the last voter voted, the poll workers still had more to do. They recorded the vote. They meticulously followed a carefully documented procedure. They tallied the votes from each voting machine. They noted that only a few voters (out of almost 2300) had come to the polls, stood in the voting booth, and then anonymously decided not to vote.
They filled a dozen envelopes with bits and pieces of information (including one envelope that held over a dozen provisional ballots).
The poll workers kept busy until 10:30 PM. They ensured that they could defend the numbers they had collected, and they stored (in a locked cage) the equipment they had used, keeping it ready for the next election.
During the process, I observed the vote. In my precinct, Mitt Romney had won by a small margin. George Allen, running for the senate against Democrat Tim Kaine, had lost. Since I live in what is usually a Conservative precinct, I saw that as a bad sign for any possibility of a Republican victory. So when I left and went home, I was disappointed as well as very tired.
Finding Cause For Hope and For Joy
Romans 8:28 Good News Translation (GNT)
We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose.
Because our lives unfold as God intends, we can always find cause for hope and for joy. In this election, I found hope and joy in the determination of people trying to do the right thing, making every effort to vote and to ensure the honesty of the results.
Do you want to serve your country? Do your best to vote wisely. That’s good start. Do you fear the possibility of tyranny, what a tyrant would do to your family, friends, and neighbors? Do you want to do more? Then volunteer to be a poll worker, and do your best to ensure an honest vote.
This is the first post in a series.