I feel better. I thought about voting early, but my usual polling place is generally pretty quiet, and I do love the festive feeling of voting on the day, so I waited. Then I kept thinking….what if my name isn’t on the voter rolls? I checked to make sure it was….but what if something happened AFTER I checked? What if I get hit by a bus before election day? What if my car runs into the ditch and I don’t make it in time?
So it was with great relief today that I walked into my polling place to finally vote. I couldn’t stop smiling. The poll worker who checked me in was a woman of color, and I had such a stupid smile on my face that I made her smile back in spite of herself. There were 12 polling stations set up, and no line. I dodged behind the curtain and just looked at the ballot for a minute.
I filled in Mark Begich, then Ethan Berkowitz, then my local race. I saved Obama-Biden for last. I took a deep breath and really thought about what it took to get to this day, not only all the incredible work that has gone into this particular election, but also to have a viable African-American candidate on the ballot as nominee for the President of the United States.
I hope to see a woman in that spot too, some day. But I want to vote for a woman who has earned her place on the ticket through her own intelligence, principles, work ethic, determination and grit, not someone who got picked as a strategic calculation, and a poor one at that. I looked at Palin’s name on the ballot. After my deep breath, I filled in the Obama-Biden oval carefully…being sure not to leave one little white space. Then I double checked to make sure I filled in the right oval, and didn’t make a horrible mistake because of my reverie.
Then off to the optical scan machine to watch my ballot get sucked into the little slot. Number 555. Pretty good turnout so far. I’ll be back later to photograph the paper tapes they are required to post in the window. In 2004, we had some precincts in Anchorage with a 220% voter turnout. Not again.
We should be getting the first returns from the east coast within the hour!