Election Night Community

by Jeanne on November 4, 2009


Yesterday was Election Day in Seattle. Or, rather, the day by which mail-in ballots were due. King County (our county), eradicated voting in person a couple of elections ago. While I think it’s a good move–it makes voting easier–it eradicates the communal spirit that I used to love on election day. I really liked going to vote, seeing my neighbors, and feeling the energy of voting day. Mail in voting doesn’t quite have the same feeling. Or didn’t until yesterday.

Last night, engaging in my usual habit of procrastination, I ran to the post office at 6:30 pm hoping to drop off my completed ballot. It was due by 8:00 pm. Apparently, many other people had the same idea, and we were all disappointed that the post office was closed. I kinda knew this was going to be the case, since I actually read the ballot materials, which said, and I paraphrase: “if you are a total doofus and waited until the last minute, you may bring your ballot to a neighborhood drop station with all the other doofuses and do the walk of shame to and from the drop box.” But, I went to the post office just in case something magical happened and I didn’t really have to drive to the more distant drop box.

Anyway, I mentioned this to the other people gathered at the post office. Everyone groaned (because, again, the neighborhood drop station is not in our neighborhood). One lady was panic-stricken because she had an electric car (this is Seattle, after all) and it didn’t have enough of a charge to drive over to the other neighborhood. Another woman had a car full of kids who were about to lose it. Each person had various reasons why this was going to be a much bigger burden for them than it would be for me. I offered to collect and take everyone’s ballot to the drop place. They were extremely thankful. It’s funny because it wasn’t much of a hassle for me–I had to drive over there anyway–but it was a huge help for these people. As I started to drive away, I saw another woman screech up in front of the post office–clearly hoping to mail her ballot. I drove back over and offered to take her ballot. She was surprised and, again, so thankful.

I was thankful, too, because I got my election night community even in this new era of mail-in ballots.

(photo by Shutterstock)

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