Voting Day

I have been looking forward to voting and, like thousands of other Vermonters, and millions of other United States citizens, I did so today. I made sure to have the car with four wheel drive so I could take the back way to the polls. Like everywhere else, high turnout was expected here in Hinseburg, and I wanted to avoid a line of traffic on Route 116. So I went the bumpy way.

I brought my daughter with me. She got off the bus and then we waited about an hour before we left. She needed a snack and a break before we headed out. I was excited to vote and was itching to get out there but I was patient. My morning was too busy to get to the town hall to vote so I had planned on doing so in the afternoon. That meant my daughter could come along.

There was plenty of parking in the lot below the town hall and the place was not busy. As we walked in, I overheard one of the poll workers tell a voter that she “must be special,” joking, because she got to go to the Chittenden 1-2 district table to get her ballot. I went in an noted that I must be special as well. Here was the irony: a small fraction of voters are in my district but I had to wait behind one person while no one was getting a ballot from the five poll workers for Chittenden 1-1.

It was not a long wait. My daughter and I found a booth (open, no curtain here, but private enough) and I marked my ballot. I was proud to be able to vote across parties for local races. i voted for Barack Obama (as I write the New York Times reports that so far 66% of Vermonters voted for Obama–not bad for the whitest state in the union) and it felt great to finally be able to fill in that oval. I also voted for my former state representative, Gaye Symington, for governor, although she has had little chance of winning.

My daughter fed the ballot into the electronic scanner and we each took an “I Voted” sticker. We got a couple of donut holes (she made sure to take one for her brother, who we were headed to pick up after leaving the town hall–I love her for that kind of thing), thanked the poll workers, and headed back out. The whole process took all of ten minutes. There was a line of traffic heading into town as we left town but we skirted that problem.

My daughter asked me later who the first president was as well as who “the last” president was. She asked me more about his last president. What could I say? I just told her that some people are good at their jobs and some people are not and that he was not all that good at his. We talked about that for a few minutes, with me struggling to explain national politics to a child whose first experience was a mock election at school today. I am sure we will have more such conversations.

It looks like a good bet that my children will remember Barack Obama as the first president of their lives. That is historical and powerful. It is amazing. And I am happy to be part of it.