Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Voting in Virginia

I voted in a blue county in a purple state today. The voting experience was in stark contrast to my previous experiences in God's Country (a.k.a. Texas). So, I wanted to give you a little insight into voting in Northern Virginia.

My voting precinct is at a local elementary school. When I arrived this morning, the line was out the door, down the sidewalk, through the parking lot, and around the corner. It took me about 10 minutes just to find a parking space.

When I finally found the end of the line, I was warmly greeted by an Obama volunteer with a sample Democratic ballot. I politely declined and took my place in line. Shortly thereafter, I was greeted by another Obama volunteer. I looked cold, would I like some warm coffee? I politely declined and started to shift my weight from side to side as I waited. A few minutes later another Obama volunteer came by. Would I like a granola bar? Some bottled water? No and no. Thanks.

The line was moving slowly, but it was progressing. I had finally reached the long sidewalk that went directly into the school. Obama/Biden signs flanked the walkway into the school. As I inched closer to the school, I was approached by two Acorn volunteers in black shirts with bold white lettering. The shirts proclaimed that I had a right to vote and highlighted an 800 number that I could call to report voter suppression. They also pointed to a lawyer (and Obama supporter) who could assist me if I was denied my right to vote today. Got it.

Once I made my way inside the school, the Obama presence faded slightly. Volunteers are not allowed to wear political flair inside the polling place. But, one of the Obama volunteers (sans previous Obama regalia) stood inside the school waiving and giving a “thumbs up” to voters as he passed them. It was like, “You liked the coffee didn’t you? Don’t forget who gave it to you!” To their credit, every Obama volunteer was very kind and polite.

I felt like my voting experience had been sponsored by Barack Obama. I am not exaggerating when I say there was not a single sign or mention of John McCain.

The entire ordeal took about 2 hours. Early on, I called my husband. I could see the line and I knew what was to come. I suggested that voting today was a waste of time and that my vote wouldn’t really matter. He suggested that I should vote because we live in a swing-state. I wasn’t convinced. Then he said, “If for no other reason, you should vote because I risked my life defending our country, so that you could have this right.” Good point.

For those of you wondering if the lines are worth it, if your time is worth it, and if your vote really matters; it is and it does. Our freedom is bought with a price. This is an opportunity, not only to help select our country’s leaders, but to show appreciation to all those who fight to give us this freedom.


Becky said...

That is quite the powerful statement by Dave. Good for you for waiting it out. People in GA were able to vote up to 45 days early. Almost everyone in metro Atlanta has experienced lines o 2- 8 hours long. Even today on the official voting day the lines are long 2 hrs plus. I'm so excited people are actually voting. I just hope they are voting for the right guy :-) We will see soon!
Loved your blog today.

Leah M said...

Great blog. :) I was so glad NOT to stand in line.. Turns out our neighborhood in SF wasn't getting a huge rush at 3pm. Although I had no doubt which way CA would go for the presidential race, there were some really imporant props on the ballot that were worth standing in whatever line necessary.

wesleyandbeth said...

Cute blog! Texas is definitly a different world...I think everyone I ran into voted for McCain, and I only waited in line 1 min. to vote on election day!
I would have taken advantage of the free coffee, bottle of water and 5 granola bars and not feel bad voting for McCain..hee hee