Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Run out and Vote! - Weston, MA

So today is the state primary election. Until last week, I thought I had not registered in Massachusetts in time to vote here, but then I went online and discovered that I was in fact eligible to vote. Yay! 

One of my little quirks is that I love to vote. I always vote. I don't think I have missed a single election that I am eligible to vote in. Primaries, special elections, the big elections, I'm there. I am also a pain in the butt to Americans who don't vote. I don't understand why people don't vote--if you don't vote, you are willingly giving up the right that probably some of your ancestors fought pretty hard to get. Especially women. In six years, we will celebrate a century of women being allowed to vote. That's reason to celebrate. So, my dears, go vote.

Okay, enough preachiness. Once I figured out I could vote, I had to do a little research on the candidates. I am a registered Democrat so I am voting only in the Democrat primary. It turns out that independents can vote either Democrat or Republican primary candidates (either, not both) which is a new one for me. But anyway, I researched attorney general, governor, state rep, etc etc. And wrote down a little cheat sheet which I promptly left at home this morning. But remembered the names, no worries.

Where I voted.

My polling place is exactly one kilometer (less than a mile, my little American non-metric friends) from my house. I got to run there as BH had taken the car and left it at his co-worker's house for me to pick up. So I took a little warm-up jog alongside the commuter cars that were stopped in a wiggly worm down to Route 128. And arrived huffing and puffing at the Methodist Church. Out came the pastor on his way to his car and he greeted me and said "you'd better get in there; we need you. You're the only one here this morning." The polling place had opened at 7 am. I was the fifth voter at 8 am.

One thing I love about polling places: the volunteers. In this case, there were five senior ladies who all looked up expectantly as I came in the door. I pulled out my ID and one said "oh, you don't need that. Just tell us your address." What? You don't need an ID to vote in Massachusetts. True story. BH could have voted as one of my neighbors. He could have voted as the mayor of Weston. Well, okay maybe not. He might be Republican.

So the lady checks me off and then the other lady hands me the big ballot with fill in circles. I couldn't help it; I said "A paper ballot??? That's so cute!" And the other lady smiled and said "you haven't voted in Massachusetts before, have you?"  And I said no, but I thought we had given up paper ballots in the US since the chad affair in Florida. Then we proceeded to chat about Brazil where her daughter had lived in Salvador, Bahia for a semester and married a Brazilian, and...oh wait, time to vote.

And then I went into a little cubicle/high table area and filled in my circles with a black pen. I love filling in circles with a black pen. Makes me think of the SAT 25 years later. So I filled in ALL the circles. Just kidding. I filled in just the appropriate ones. 

So within four minutes, I headed over to another table which was called the "Out Table".  And then I gave my address again, and that I had filled in the Democrat ballot and I got waived over to the shredder. No, I guess it wasn't really a shredder. It was a machine that sucked the ballot from my hand and hopefully tabulated it. Not exactly rocket science computer voting a la Brazil, but there you have it. PS. I have never voted in Brazil. I can't.

And roughly seven minutes after heading in to vote, I was heading out. Again, tell me why people cannot take seven minutes out of their days to vote? I'm confused. Americans, go vote. Now. Well, okay, only if you have an election today. Otherwise, the church or other polling place might be surprised (though possibly delighted) to have you show up.

I predict right now that only 7% of eligible voters in Massachusetts will vote today.  Anyone want to bet with me?

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