It’s November 6. Election Day in the US. I walked in the rain the block and a half to the polling station at the local elementary school to partake in the Civic Sacrament. The school kids, you see, have a holiday today.
I did not arrive bright and early at 6 a.m. I sauntered in around two hours later, awkwardly fumbling to fold my wet umbrella while removing my driver’s license from my wallet. The wait was minimal, ten minutes maybe. First the table with the sign: Have your ID Ready, at the door of the gymnasium; then three tables where a pollster took the ID, asked my name and address, seemingly suspiciously looked them up in the data, at last handing me a card, which I duteously carried to the next station, exchanging the card for a large manila folder labeled in large bold print “Private Folder.” In the folder was my paper ballot. Obediently, I approached the man at the entry of the roped-off central portion of the gym. He studiously surveyed the two tables of six carrels each and finally nodded to me to proceed to a vacated seat.
The large print ballot contained the usual — quite an ordinary, every day voting event in Alexandria, VA — for Congress, then two amendments to the Alexandria charter about tax exemptions for disabled veteran’s widows and I forget what else, finally the Mayor — only one person ran — School Board and representatives for the Alexandria Council. When I rose from my seat, a friendly woman waved me smilingly on to one of two electronic vote eaters, I mean counters: I duteously slid my ballot into the paper-shredder-looking slot only to see it disappear and the screen above it to think awhile before informing me I had officially voted: my vote had been read and tabulated.
Happily, I at last received my reward, a bonnie red-white-and-blue sticker bearing the emblem of the City of Alexandria — a ship beneath the scales of justice — declaring the sacramental words: I voted. I wear it proudly emblazoning the black of my dress throughout the day.
That is how it is in Alexandria, in Virginia. Voting is amply provided for at the local level, they just require that government ID which the Dems contend stands against all the Republican Reconstruction of the 19th century.
Already, as I only drafted this in shifts and snatches, some polls have closed. Certainly, radio announcers are having a heyday as they announce races, follow pending races, debate the relative value of polls by news organizations, polls paid for by politicians, polls, polls in a day when few utilize landlines any longer.
And so, uneventfully, this nation passes yet another tough midterm exam: no, we didn’t declare Civil War on one another, and no, no plans have been uncovered that would threaten the lives of those who challenged but were defeated, or those that did succeed.