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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Voting Story

Being a new American citizen, this is my first election to vote in. What an election to choose (well it wasn't that much of a choice for me as becoming a citizen is a lengthy process)! Nonetheless I did have the choice to apply for citizenship and I am excited that I am now part of the American political process, for better or worse. As far as I remember the last time I voted in something equivalent was when Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party won the UK general elections and Margaret became Prime Minister. That was more than a few years ago! I have been impatient for this whole election to be over and so I voted last Friday at an advance voting location. I have to say that despite the one hour wait it turned out to be a very pleasant experience.

When I arrived at the advance voting location and joined the line I had no clue what the wait time would be. However, the couple who stepped up to join the line after me, and others in front, who all joined in the conversation, soon let me know that the wait would be about an hour. OK, that was a little longer than I'd expected - I'd been thinking more about 30 minutes would be a reasonable wait. Since I was already there and had no clue what the lines would be like today, on election day, it seemed easier to wait it out. I'm glad I did because I was able to take part in my good deed for the day.

Soon after I began waiting I noticed an elderly couple - the lady was in a wheelchair and the gentleman who was pushing her wheelchair was looking at the line with a perplexed expression on his face. Their voting cards were sticking out of the gentleman's front shirt pocket. They looked at the line for a few minutes then moved off to stop at some benches for a rest. The lady behind me, who was obviously a very friendly kind of person, and I began to talk about this couple. "Surely someone nearer the front would let them into the line!", I exclaimed. My line neighbor said she'd go off and talk with them. She relayed to them that they were welcome to go in front of us and to just sit on the benches until we were close to the front. Thus began a very pleasant chance to converse with some American neighbors.

At this point I'd be hard-pushed to say exactly what we talked of, but for that 40 or so minutes, while we waited to cast our votes and exercise what is arguably our most important right as citizens, it didn't matter who the candidates were, or how we were going to vote, we simply enjoyed the camaraderie of some fellow human beings.

As the results come in tonight I hope that each of us will be able to think of the fact that we are all imperfect human beings on a quest to do our best for ourselves, our families, our friends and neighbors, and our country. May all of the next President's mistakes be small ones!


Kim K said...

Congratulations on your new citizenship and on casting your first vote today!

jugglingpaynes said...

Congratulations on your first vote here!

My voting was uneventful. No line, no waiting. I always go in the afternoon when it's slow. (many in our area work in Manhattan) I like that I can vote in this relaxed manner. I showed the machine to the kids (two are now too big to fit inside with me!)and I went in with my youngest and let her pull the lever and all the switches.

My husband had a short line in the morning, but it wasn't bad for him since he works in the area. Apparently, the long lines started before the polls opened at 6.

Peace and Laughter!

Alison said...

Thanks for the congratulations ladies. It was a very exciting election to be my first.

Renae said...

My polling place had a very short line, but I went early in the day.

My heart feels like it will burst every time I march towards the fire station to vote. Congratulations on becoming one of us. For good or bad, we are Americans!

Janet said...

Congratulations on your citizenship! I knew you were "new" to us, but didn't realize you were that new. That may be the best election day story I ever heard. What fine neighbors you have.

Barbara Frank said...

Congratulations on your new status as American citizen! If only the majority of citizens who were born here appreciated their freedom to vote as much as you obviously do.

Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

The Reluctant Homeschooler said...

Congratulations on becoming a US citizen and on voting! I no longer remember my first vote, but I, too, am a naturalized citizen, and I don't take my right to vote for granted! Had my parents not been displaced from their homelands and spent time in German D.P. camps after WWII, I would have been born in the Soviet Union instead of in Canada. From Canada, I ended up in the US, and, like you, I made the choice to become a US citizen. I, too, voted on Nov. 4!

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