Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I voted! A tradition I learned from my mom

When I was a little girl, I remember going with my mom and watching her vote. The place we voted at was inside the city motor pool or fire station--I'm not sure which because I only remember a few things distinctly. It was a large building that had booths with fabric curtains set up inside. Outside the building, people shouted, held signs and gave out slips of paper that encouraged us to vote for a particular candidate. The booths were large and the election helpers would give my mom a card that she put into the machine. I remember the metal on metal sound the curtain made when you closed it. It surrounded you. The voting was very private.

I went to early voting this year. Apparently, El Paso, TX had the lowest early voter turn-out in a decade! I can believe it. It seemed empty where I went to vote, though the lighting was cheerful and everyone was glad to see me to use the touch-screens of democracy.

I vote because I want my children to vote. I vote because I want politicians to know I exist and that I'm watching. I know that as individuals, our voices are often limited or seem limited. But if everyone showed that they were paying attention, by casting a vote... one way or another... "they" will know and take notice in the government.

I miss my mother. I hope that carrying on in her footsteps in small ways, ways that I can remember her and cherish those memories, too, that she lives on. I always think of her when I vote.

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