Thursday, October 29, 2020

Voting Is Worth the Wait

Voting this year wasn't what it usually is for me. Most years I wake up really early, show up at my polling place around 6 AM, and I'm the very first person there. Last year we had this law that gave us up to four hours off to vote. I needed to organize our staff around it, so of course I took the four hours. This year is something entirely different. 

I'm sure I'm not alone here. This is the first time we've had early voting in NY State, and it's pretty exciting. Everyone wants to vote ASAP. On Saturday, I went to the Freeport Recreational Center, got frightened at the line, and turned right around for home. 

I mean, there was always the possibility of just waiting until Election Day and going in really early. This notwithstanding, it seemed worth checking on Sunday as well. Sunday was way worse than Saturday, so I suppose I was not the only one who had that idea. But Monday? Monday would surely be better. After all, a whole lot of people needed to report for work. I was working from home, so as soon as my last class finished, I'd drive to the rec and vote. Monday, though, looked like Saturday, and the line wasn't moving at all. 

I'd heard from friends that nearby sites were a little better, so I drove five minutes to the North Merrick

Library. The line was just as long as the one in Freeport, but it seemed to be moving faster. I got on line and decided to take my chances. Just across the street was this house. There's the Trump flag, the Trump sign, and smaller signs urging us to vote for every GOP 'candidate on the line. The thing that upset me most is the fact that the GOP congressional candidate here, whatever his name is, has signs all over the place. Our Congresswoman, Kathleen Rice, seems to have signs precisely nowhere. Now Rice is not my favorite politician, having compared AOC to Trump. Still, I don't want her to lose. It's funny how low your standards get when a demagogue like Donald Trump is running for President. 

We had some interesting conversations on the line. They guy behind me, wearing an American flag mask, said this would certainly influence voters. I told him no one stood on a line like this unless they already decided who they were voting for, and he agreed. The women in front of me had other priorities. They kept speaking about how awful it was that people couldn't get along because they disagreed about politics. I wasn't going to argue with them, but I think Trump is such an abomination that it behooves us to oppose him in every possible way we could imagine.

Then, one of the women started saying, "They'd better ask me for my ID." I told her that NY State did not require ID, and she was quite disappointed. Then we heard they were, in fact, asking for name, address, and DOB. The guy behind me said that anyone who wanted to could just go and vote for someone they knew who was not planning to vote. I'm not sure how many registered voters don't plan to vote this year, or how I'd determine they didn't want to, or how I'd get their personal information just to commit a federal crime and vote in a state whose leanings were a virtual lock, but I didn't argue with him either. 

I was pretty happy when we finally got close enough to turn the corner and imagine the last legs of our wait. That was around 20 minutes in. A few minutes later, we finally made it into the library, where social distancing was enforced a whole lot better than it was on the line. We had to step on Xs, and wait until the next X was occupied before advancing.

And just as predicted, I have my name, address and birthday and they handed me a ballot. I voted for Biden and Harris on the Working Families line, as suggested by AOC, and voted straight Democratic otherwise. I even voted for Kathleen Rice. It's disturbing to see no evidence of her campaign. I remember Tom Suozzi lost as County Executive to Ed Mangano because he felt himself a shoo-in and barely bothered campaigning. Mangano, last I heard, was still awaiting sentencing after having been convicted of corruption. 

I'm a unionist, and I've seen no evidence that GOP supports union or working people. I remember Janus, and I'm absolutely sure that was just the beginning, especially now that they've deposited Amy Coney Whatever on the court. This is not going to be a great year for those of us who actually work for a living. I don't know exactly how much money I'd need to have before considering going GOP and screwing all the people who made less money than I did. It's hard to imagine any scenario I'd go that way. 

I'm not sure how smart we are standing on lines, particularly since Election Day will bring us ten times the number of places we can vote, and will likely be a good way for us to avoid lines altogether. Nonetheless, it's great to see people all fired up about voting, and willing to do whatever they can to make sure they are counted.

Don't forget to vote! I'm really glad I did, and you'll be glad when you do too.

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