Walking Through a Blizzard to Exercise the Right to Vote

Published November 5, 2012 by krystal

Tomorrow is the big day, the day America will decide if it is time for a new prez, or if she is satisfied with the current one.  I am mostly excited that my Facebook wall will stop being littered with comments someone finds offensive (No, I do not post anything political.  I was always told not to discuss politics or religion, as someone would surely get offended.  If I do post political comments, I may sure I am an equal opportunity joker.).  I actually defriended someone over harsh political comments recently!  I will also be glad that I can watch tv without seeing an ad, or watch the news without hearing who dropped one or two percentage points overnight.

I have not always been so fed up with elections… there was a time I actually looked forward to being 18 so I could vote.  Clinton/Gore ‘92.  Does this mean I am a die-hard Dem?  No, it means I was an eight year old in Arkansas.  The whole state was beaming for the man who “still believed in a place called Hope.”  Did I mention I was born in Hope too?  Like every other Razorback red bleeding Arkansan, I wanted to vote!  I had no clue what any of any of it meant, I just knew that it was what my teachers and parents were doing, and it was on tv all the time.  The next decade was sure to take forever, and I would never have the opportunity to vote Clinton/Gore ’92 OR ’96.

You better believe on November 5, 2002 I was rushing out of my college freshman classes to take advantage of the right I had waited ten years to earn!  I vaguely remember anything about it or the Presidential election in ’04.  The only thing I can recall about the ’06 midterm was that I met both of my parents in the church gym (voting area) purely on accident.  My dad was way ahead of me in line, and my mom was 15-20 people behind me.  I let all of those people go ahead of me so I did not have to wait in the forever long line all alone!

Which brings me to 2008.  Obama/Biden, McCain/Palin.  It was a dramatic and unforgettable experience!  It was my second presidential election to vote in and my first year in Alaska.  I had gone to vote with the majority of the teachers immediately following school.  We rode over in the school truck to get there faster and to stay out of the elements (as much as you can stay out of the elements in the back of an F-250!).  I went in and voted:  pick one, yes, yes, no, no, drop the ballot in the box, thanks for the sticker, and see you later!

So maybe my voting experience was relatively normal.  Freddy on the other hand… Freddy and I go way back.  Actually to about three months before that election.  I went over to Freddy’s to watch the election results around 6.  6:00 in Alaska is 9:00 in Arkansas, or 10:00 in Washington, D.C.  He told me that he had not voted yet, and wanted to, but did not know where to go.  It was dark, and a blizzard had recently rolled in.  I, being a good friend and neighbor decided I would walk him over.  Did I mention it was dark and stormy?  We decided to take a short cut, which was pretty much my worst choice that day.  I fell up to my hips in the snow.  By the time we reached the building to vote, my green Carhartts were solid white. The election officials just laughed at my poor attempt to be the abominable snowwoman.  Halloween was five days before?  Oh.  Oops.  Freddy was the only one voting at the time, and my poor excuse for a Yeti costume was beginning to melt away.  We must have smartened up and took the road back, as I do not remember anything about the trip home.

By the time we returned to his house, the news was announcing Obama’s victory.  Poor Freddy, his vote really did not count.  But wait, neither did mine!  My ballot was a few below his in the paper ballot box!  Our polls were still open and our ballots were not counted!  We watched as McCain called to congratulate Obama on his victory, and still got to bed at a decent hour.  I guess there are some advantages to the time difference.

Tomorrow I will vote around 6:30, after I get out of my Master’s class.  Perhaps Obama or Romney will have already been declared the winner?  It will be 10:30 on the east coast.  If the winner is declared before our polls close, all I can do is be proud that I have the opportunity to participate in the process, and know that in Alaska, my vote does count for Senators, Representatives, and Propositions.


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