Growing Into My Opinions

A knot of anxiety, excitement and trepidation tangled up in my gut as I approached the table and handed my driver’s license to the severe looking woman with a ruler in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

I was a trembling 19 year old, and it was time to vote in my first presidential election. She would be the first poll worker I’d encounter in my young life, but not the last.

I’d been raised in a very conservative home and since dear ol’ dad was a staunch Republican, he had let me know pretty clear who he thought should be the choice. But mostly he was just very clear that I should vote.

On polling day, I knew I had the right to make my own choices, so I thought a lot about both candidates and what they promised. With my mind made up, nervous but ready, I went into the polling booth and cast my vote.

There was a very satisfying tactile response from the voting machine. Click, click, click, then yank the lever. The curtains pop open like a low budget talent show, aaaaand you’re done.

I’ve voted in every presidential election since my first in 1988. My choices have ranged over the years from conservative to liberal, up down, back and forth, east and west. I always vote after doing some research and doing a gut check to see what I think is right.

My choices have not always been the victor or even popular, but that’s ok. My vote was cast.

Over the years, I didn’t usually vote in the minor elections or even the mid-terms, but since moving to California, I’ve been better about that. I’ve voted in almost all the elections that have passed through, including the elections where there wasn’t much to vote about.

And so here in mid-October, it’s time to start thinking about voting again. November 2nd looms large on the horizon.

For the State of California, this is a big election. We choose a new governor from two really poor choices (I don’t want to vote for either one, but I guess I’ll have to pick). This is also a big election for the country as many Congressional seats are up for election.

Even if you think your vote doesn’t matter, please, I’m asking you nicely, get out and vote.

Many candidates and pundits are not only expecting that people won’t vote, in some cases, they are counting on the fact that certain demographics won’t vote.

Prove ’em wrong. Vote anyway. Vote just because you can. Vote because it’s the one of the few times you feel like you get to make your voice heard.

I’m not here to lobby one side against the other.

I’m not here to back any candidate.

I’m not here to back any party’s agenda…

I’m just saying…vote, ok?

As a final thought…

A few years ago I signed up to vote by mail. It makes things very easy, and I’m more likely to cast my vote in any given election because of this simple process.

But sometimes I do miss that nervous knot I still get in my gut when walking into a polling place. It’s so official, almost ceremonial. There is a reverence for voting that you can only get at an official polling place.

The word knot is the subject of this week’s Theme Thursday

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  • Anji

    Is that a voting machine?

  • Karen Fayeth

    Anji – Indeed it is. I don't think they use that style anymore, but that was the common machine used in the late 1980's.

  • Beth

    I feel the same way about the choices for Governor in New Mexico. I'm not crazy about either one of them, but I'll vote.

    Beth in Taos

  • Lenora

    You are so right – everybody get out and vote!

  • Dirty Butter

    I've voted in every election for almost 50 years now. I agree whole heartedly with your urging that people vote.

    I will admit, though, that over the years I have not done the research on many of the "minor" offices to feel qualified to cast a ballot, so I've skipped a lot of those races on the ballots.

    We've recently become very involved in our small town's politics, so I'm seeing the need to educate myself about the unknown candidates. I'm doing a better job this year than I think I ever have to be ready to vote.

    And yes, I miss the old curtained lever machines. Your description brought back memories.

    Found you on Expose Your Blog.

  • {S.T.U.F.F.}

    I do remember that first time and the the knot in, both, my stomach and my throat… and those old voting machines…

    And I so Luv the message…


  • Lucky

    I remember going into the booth with my mom when I was a kid, and also the first time I got to go on my own. I was in college in PA, and my friends and I were so excited to actually go and vote in a Presidential election, we eschewed the absentee ballots. 4 of us piled into my piece of junk car, drove home to NY, and voted. It was probably the most attention I've ever paid the the stands of the candidates (before or since)!

    I voted once an hour after having 2 wisdom teeth removed. I agree with you – get out and vote! No excuses.

  • Michelle Meaders

    Does California have early voting? Do they use paper ballots like New Mexico does?

  • Don

    I so agree that it is VERY important to vote, and to know what you are voting on. Make sure the candidate you are voting for agrees with your thought processes and what you think is right for your area and the US (for those of you in the US, for those not, replace US with your country).

    I miss the old machines as well….

  • Karen Fayeth

    Lenora – Thanks for the comment!!

  • Karen Fayeth

    Dirty Butter – Good to see you here! I've seen your blog on Expose Your Blog as well.

    I love that the old curtained machines bring back memories!

  • Karen Fayeth

    S.T.U.F.F. – Love that you got that knot in your tummy too. I don't know why, but voting is always so serious and austere (in a good way) for me.

    Thanks for the comment!!

  • Karen Fayeth

    Lucky – ok, that's hardcore…wisdom teeth out and STILL you voted?

    : bows down : I'm not worthy!

  • Karen Fayeth

    Michelle – Yep, we have early voting and the type of ballot varies depending on the county. Some use touch screens, some use paper ballots that you complete the arrow, some use those punch through ballots.

    Kind of crazy. My county uses the complete the arrow style of ballot.

  • Karen Fayeth

    Don! Good to see you here and thanks for the comment! Good thoughts…a little knowledge goes a long way when voting.

  • Natalie

    The election posters are out enmass now and clogging the landside. You know what I've noticed that is different this time around? I don't see party affiliation on any of the signage. I only see the name and what they are running for and their slogans.
    I think it's really interesting that they are not including the party affilitiations. But then… at this point there's really no difference between either/any of them.

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