Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day, 2016 (And Those Gone Before)

I think I can be fairly confident in saying there has never, in the history of our country, been a presidential race such as we've experienced this year.  Personally, I'll be very glad when it's over.  I'm also crossing my fingers (although that may be a supremely ineffectual gesture) our new president elect doesn't push our country and sadly devolving society farther down the slippery slope of disaster.

Reading Susan's (e-i-e-i-omg-bybiddie.blogspot.com) blog entry this morning, in which she mentioned stopping at her local polling place before heading to work, I was reminded of when we lived on our first piece of property here in Minnesota.

The area was very much rural (and still is) with the polling place located in the quite old but much used (and still is) town hall.  I served with a few other locals on the election committee under the head judge, a delightful 80-plus year old lady, who had done her job faithfully for many, many years.  When she passed away, I moved into her position and thoroughly enjoyed serving with the others until we moved out of that particular district.

At that time, we handed out the ballots as voters came in and up to our "official" table.  They then took the materials to a chair at one of the long tables set up around the perimeter of the large, open hall.  The completed ballots were inserted into one of two metal ballot boxes which could have been, I'm sure, classified as antiques.  Although not in the best of shape after goodness-knows-how-many years of service, they were rather ornate with a lid secured by a padlock.

It was typically a time of seeing and visiting with nearly all the members of our small community and a festive air permeated the whole day.  Often we would see two people seated in a corner spending even an hour in conversation catching up on each other's lives.  It wasn't uncommon to have someone come in to vote and before they left inquire as to whether so-and-so had been in yet.  If not, could they please leave a pair of goves for them that had been left behind on the church pew last Sunday?  Or would we kindly deliver the message to Mr. XYZ's brother-in-law when he stops in after work that his chain saw is repaired and he can stop by and pick it up on his way home.

 There were always volunteers from the community who were on hand to drive miles over gravel roads to pick up a voter, bring him or her in to vote, and deliver them back home again.  This service was a godsend on election days when we experienced icy roads and/or inches of falling snow.

Children, whose parents voted after school hours, came along and got to view the whole process.  What better way to learn than actually witnessing their parents exercising their democratic rights.

These days Papa Pea and I fill out our ballots and cast them via snail mail.  Although we're still voting, it's certainly not at all the same as it was back in the old town hall and the sense of community and "human-ness" generated then.

20 comments:

  1. I agree that things are so very different from years gone by. However, at our precinct, I occasionally run into neighbors that I haven't seen in a while. Many of my relatives & friends vote via snail mail but I just can't make myself do that if I am in town on election day, I actually like going there to do my civic duty.

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  2. okay I managed to log out of the first post and I think it is floating in cyber space --- at any rate I treasure voting at my Township Hall -- it's a great group of election judges --- and they handed me a sandwich on the way out the door ... I am blessed.

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    1. Marie - I had to laugh at the sandwich being given to you on the way out . . . would that be influencing your vote?? Ballot tampering?? Nope, not if you got it on the way out. ;o)

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    2. Since I was on the ballot already (County Commissioner) and I had already voted ... and everyone got one ...

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    3. Marie - The important question: Did you WIN??

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  3. I don't vote at all now.....although English I do not think I have the right to cast my vote in any elections held there (including Brexit) because I do not live there anymore. And I can't vote in French elections because I am not a French national!

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    1. Vera - Kind of a different situation to be in!

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  4. I enjoy the elections we have its a very friendly village and these events are seen as social occasions

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    1. Dawn - I think we miss something special by not having it be that way for all folks these days. But I supposed it's been a long time for people living in heavily populated areas to have that "community" feeling at the polls.

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  5. I really feel this computerized, social network generation time plays part of the unfriendly stress via the election and all it brought. Glad it's over with.

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    1. Kristina - Oh, absolutely! Pre-computerized, social networking, all we had were the newspapers and perhaps a 5-minute blurb on the nightly news. I'm glad it's over, too!

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  6. Here in our little township I have the blessing as serving as head election judge. We still function much the same way as you remember. Only now we have a computerized counter and I am so glad. I don't remember with fondness those 3 a.m. elections nights of counting and recounting.

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    1. odiie - Oh, yes, I also remember taking our jobs so seriously that we would count and recount. I don't think we ever worked until 3 a.m., but I remember wending my way home well after 1 a.m. more than once!

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  7. Our community isn't that close knit (although it used to be from the stories the older folks tell). When I happened to be in the county courthouse last week and saw the election room...well, I voted early for the first time.

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    1. tpals - Better to vote early . . . than to get caught remembering too late! ;o)

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  8. Your experience...back in the old town hall....now that's America! Wouldn't it be nice to go back to those days? God bless you, Judy...and, please God, Bless America!

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    1. Laurie - I do echo your last sentiment . . . God Bless America!

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  9. Laurie said a mouthful. We are looking for America anymore. I hope we find her again. God Bless America!

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    1. Hi, Goatldi - Putting all else aside, I think what the people are looking for is a change. Perhaps the outcome of the election says that more folks than anyone realized have been unhappy with the way our society has been rapidly deteriorating. I'm not saying all changes have been bad, but many have.

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