In the end, it was easy to vote.
I went at 9 a.m., and while it was steadily busy--all 13 voting stations were in use, so I voted using a clipboard balanced on my lap--I didn't have to wait. I slid my ballot into what Doug likes to joke is actually a shredder, and I took note that I was voter no. 728 of the morning. Seven hundred and twenty seven people had voted before me, in just two hours!
And then I slapped my red "I voted" sticker onto my collar and went to work. I was 15 minutes late. That's all.
Our next-door-neighbors voted right at 7 a.m., and had to wait about 45 minutes. My little brother voted early, too, and he said the line stretched out the door and down the street for three city blocks. My sister in Seattle reported long lines but a quick pace, as did my sister-in-law in San Francisco. The Oklahomans said that the state printed up enough ballots for 100 percent of registered voters, far more than they normally do.
My friend Joe took his little daughter into the voting booth with him, and let her press the "Obama" button. I hope she remembers it when she's as old as me and we're about to elect our first black woman Muslim president, he wrote in an e-mail.
At noon, I took a walk down the Nicollet Mall, and I couldn't help but notice all of the little red "I voted" stickers glowing prominently from all kinds of shoulders:
A small Asian man with white hair and a withered arm.
Two sauntering young women, both dressed in black.
An elderly woman, limping, wearing a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt.
Two laughing young women on stilts, hanging out near Peavey Plaza.
A pot-bellied guy wearing a plaid shirt and with a fanny pack positioned directly over his private parts.
A short black woman with heavy eye makeup and lots of tight red-brown curls.
Two middle-aged women, walking fast and laughing, each with a pair of cheaters tucked into their neckline.
Everyone was wearing "I voted" stickers. Everyone!
On my way home from work, I passed a cluster of three young blond women standing on a corner in Dinkytown, near the U, waving Obama signs. Cars honked as they passed, and the women screeched and waved their signs. And then a big car came toward them, and three black women--one in a Muslim headscarf--hung out the windows all the way to their waists. And they screamed, "OBAMA!" and waved at the blond women, who screeched and waved back.
It was all sort of fast and raucous and looked a lot more fun than holding hands and singing "Kumbaya," though that's sort of what it was.
I love to vote. I love to vote. And I love to see that everyone else loves to vote, too. So I walked down Nicollet Mall at noon on this balmy, breezy Election Day, and I beamed hugely at all of the other people who had voted, and some of them--those who didn't think I was slightly daffy and possibly dangerous--beamed right back.
We're all members of the same club, just for today. The best club of all: the club of voters. Everyone's welcome!
How did the polls go for you?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
In the end, it was easy to vote.
We are all voting today. We are all about voting. I plan to drive past the voting place on my way to work and if the lines look forbidding, I'll just go on to work and then drive back on my lunch hour and take my chances then.
By law, our places of employment must give us time off to vote. But that's not always practical.
I'll report back to you on Wednesday how it all went. By then, of course, we should all know how it all went. Will the death of Obama's grandmother give him the sympathy vote? Or will McCain's rather hilarious appearance on Saturday Night Live give him the bump he needs?
I can hardly believe that very, very soon we will finally know the answers to all of this.
In the meantime, I'll leave you with a recipe for pumpkin chip cookies, sent to me by my cousin in Texas. She makes them every Halloween, in remembrance of her mother. I made them on Sunday and they are so delicious I cannot be trusted in the same room with them. Unlike the leftover Halloween candy, I will not be bringing these to work and giving them away. Whatever Doug doesn't eat, I will, and calories be damned.
They are just the right size for nervous munching as you sit and watch the election returns roll in.
PUMPKIN CHIP COOKIES
1/2 Cup oil
1 1/2 Cup sugar
1 15-oz can pumpkin
2 1/2 Cups flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 Cup chocolate chips
1/2 Cup walnuts
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Remind yourself how nutritious pumpkin is, and convince yourself that these cookies are actually very good for you. Enjoy!