Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Just to Vote

If I had known how eventful it would be to cast a quick ballot in the Arizona primary election, I would have brought my good camera.
With over ninety free minutes before the next item on my to-do list, I thought I'd have plenty of time to vote and go to the grocery store. Before I was even within sight of the church where polling was taking place, I knew this wasn't going to be my ordinary, run-of-the-mill voting day.
Traffic was backed up to simply enter the parking lot.

And then the real traffic jam began once inside the lot.
Wow. This is crazy.

Then I saw the line of people.
The line wove between cars and over curbs. People of every shape and size were waiting, wanting to cast their votes. I asked how long those closest to the front had been in line, and the answer shocked me. Almost two hours.
Wow. Just to vote.

Not just to vote.

To express opinion on the direction our country needs to take. To express concern. Solidarity. Opposition. Support. Defiance.

To be heard.
With AZ allowing votes to be cast at any precinct, I opted to try another location. I googled the next closest place and drove out of the parking lot--as the police arrived to direct traffic.

Just to vote.

When I arrived on the reservation fifteen minutes later, I was surprised that this line looked manageable--only 30-40 minutes to wait here.
Most of my voting experience has been in Arizona, and I have never seen anything like this before.

Bernie buttons. Trump stickers. Cruz signs. Hillary t-shirts. Young and old. Moms with kids in strollers and kids pushing aging parents in wheelchairs.

No riots. No protesting. No fighting.

People expressed a general consensus that Arizona needs to rethink the notion that 60 polling places for ALL of Maricopa County's 1.9 million registered voters would be enough. I know people who had to forgo voting because the lines were too long. I know people who waited over 3 hours in line to cast their votes. I know people who cast their votes even after winners had been projected.

Just to vote.

I rescheduled my 12:00 appointment. I never made it to the grocery store.

I worked for this sticker.
As contentious and crazy as this election cycle has been, AZ's unbelievably difficult voting situation yesterday reminded me of a valuable truth.

It is a privilege to vote, a privilege most of us take for granted.

It is a privilege many in the world will never know. 

I wore that sticker with pride the rest of the day, knowing my voice had been recorded.

Just to vote.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like our lines to vote last fall. I was so proud to stand in that long line up (in the fall rain!) with so many people who believed that we have a responsibility to BE the change.
    Good for you!