Voting has always been an important thing to me.
It is not a responsibility. It’s a privilege. It’s something that women didn’t get to do in this country a century ago.
I don’t do a mail-in ballot. I go to the place and stand in the booth. I pull the curtain. I fill out my ballot and I get emotional every time. I’m so thankful that I’m an American. I’m so grateful that I live in a country where we value our citizens enough to allow them to choose their own leaders and have a say in their own laws.
Last Presidential election, just a few days before the actual Tuesday, my Granny died. I had to quickly arrange things at the shop to make a trip to Texas for a funeral, but at the forefront of my mind was voting in the historical election. I would be in Texas on Election Day.
So, I checked on where the early voting was being held for my precinct, an old church, and stood in line after my long day at work. When I got to the front the election judge told me, matter-of-factly, that I would not be able to vote there since I wasn’t registered, and ushered me to the side to talk to someone else when I started to freak out. The little old man sat me down at the long folding table and I completely lost it. I told him, “I’m sorry, my grandmother died today, and I have to leave town, and I just want to get to vote before I leave.” I fell apart. I was trying to maintain some sort of dignity but full-blown sobs were threatening to come up from my guts. He took my hand in both of his and said, “It’s ok, honey, I was a chaplain. Tell me all about it. Tell me all about her.” So I did. He told me that he was sure that she would want me to get to vote, too, and so let’s get to the bottom of this. Turns out that it had something to do with my name change (I had gotten married since the last time I had voted, but was indeed registered), he made a phone call and figured out where I could go that night so that I could vote before my flight the next day.
It had been so important to me to get to vote, and I’m so thankful for that cute, sweet comforting little old man, and for the opportunity to have participated.
As I voted today, I thought about that. I thought about the fact that I got to go home that night to my sweet husband. A lot has changed in my life in one presidential cycle.
I voted. I had my say. Then, I went out to the car and cried. I cried for my Granny. I cried for my husband. I cried for my Papa who liked to work as an election judge every year, and is also gone since the last election. I cried because I was so thankful that my brother, who defends my freedom and my right to vote, got to come home from Afghanistan safely. And I cried because I’m so thankful, so proud to be an American.