Looking forward to Tuesday

Don’t worry, this isn’t a political ad for a candidate or proposition. If you live anywhere in the United States I suspect you’re completely fed up with political ads. And while my friends all know my political beliefs, I don’t do them online. But I proudly, very proudly, will talk about just how excited I am to vote.

Yes, I’m excited. Despite nervousness about the results of some races, I’m ready to be a citizen and vote on Tuesday morning. Call me corny, call me sappy, but I love to vote!

My love of voting comes from my parents; they felt voting was a privilege and responsibility, and they loved it. Even though they normally drove to work in separate cars, on election day they would pack my brother and me into a car, and together, the four of us would “vote.” My mother would take me into her voting booth, and my father would take my brother into his. We got to watch them vote, and at times, they would explain why they were voting for someone (looking back, I suspect some of the other voters in line weren’t thrilled with how long my parents took to vote). This was back in the days of older voting booths — way before punch cards or touch panels. My mother would let me pull the lever that registered her vote. It was almost as if I was voting myself.

When I finally was eligible to vote for the first time, even though I was in college in another state, I took a couple days off, went home, and voted in the morning with my mother and father. I still remember that day, and even though my candidate lost, it’s lovely to think of that shared experience with my parents.

My parents are both gone now, but their love of voting has stayed with me. I currently live in a state that doesn’t offer routine early voting. But even if mine did, I’m not convinced I would do so. The routine of voting on the way to work on election day is just that strong.

Over the years I’ve developed some rituals for major elections. Either today or tomorrow I’ll locate a sample ballot online and will begin doing some research. While I know who I’ll vote for in the major races (President, Senate, House of representatives), I’m fuzzy about some of the state propositions and candidates for State supreme court, to say nothing about people running for the many local offices and university boards.

On Tuesday morning I’ll take my completed sample ballot with me when I go to my polling place (a high school about a half-mile from where I live). Once I vote, I’ll head to work, but will leave a few hours early. No, the polls won’t have closed yet, so there will be no results, but I need to stock up on supplies for a long night. I don’t normally keep a lot of snack foods around, but for election night I give myself permission to indulge. Since I won’t know what sounds good until that day, it’ll be a surprise. I usually sneak in some “healthy” snacks(raw veggies & dip or fruit), but other than that, I’ll wait until the day to see what sounds good. Pringles? Nuts? Cheese and crackers? I’m just not sure. I’ll decide on Tuesday afternoon. I’ll definitely have a bottle of sparkling wine chilling in the refrigerator should my candidate for President win. If he doesn’t, I’ll save the bottle for Thanksgiving.

Once I arrive home I’ll print out various strategies as to which states each candidate for President “must” win, and will check those off over the night. I’ll have an early dinner (homemade soup cooked over the weekend) and will then get ready for some election night viewing. I’ll have my laptop nearby so I can check for online results as well as the coverage on TV. Once the returns begin at 8pm my time, I’ll be switching back and forth between various channels to decide which coverage I prefer this year. Too many silly gadgets and I’ll ignore a channel. Annoying panelists and I’ll avoid a channel.

That’s it. I’ll stay up until there’s a winner (and in 2000 that meant I stayed up all night and still had no winner). If my candidate for President doesn’t win, I’ll go to bed immediately. If my candidate wins, I’ll stay up for hours watching the analysis, as well as information on the other elections.

Do you have any election-day traditions? Do you wait to vote on election day, or do you vote early?


11 thoughts on “Looking forward to Tuesday

  1. LeeB.

    Great column LinnieGayl! We have mail in ballots where I live, which have to be postmarked by election day.

    As for the tv commercials — OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So glad there is a remote control for the tv in the exercise room so I can mute them.

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  2. Missie

    Like you, Linnie, I feel giddy on Election Day. :-)

    And not just the major elections, but the local ones, too. I always get distressed when people say, “Oh, it’s just a local election, I don’t need to go vote because it’s not important.” *rolls eyes* It is local politics that impact our lives most on a day-to-day basis!

    Hubby voted early in the primary elections, but while he thought about doing it for the Tuesday Election (as did I), he — and we — ended up not. We’ll line up with the crowd on Election Day and wait our turn in line…and like you, I feel a great sense of excitement :-)

    We don’t have any particular rituals for Election Night, ‘though. Sometimes I feel too nervous, anxious, or just plain sick of all the mud-slinging politicking by Election Night to want to pay close attention. If we want to watch coverage, like you, we’ll flip around until we find station(s) we like; if we’re needing to feel distracted from it, then we’ll watch a movie or play a board game or some such and check results periodically on line.

    Election Day — especially the Presidential race — always feels a bit like it should be a holiday to me. :-)

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  3. jml

    My father’s family was first generation in the U.S. after leaving a Communist controlled country so voting was not just a privilege but a duty. We too went with my parents to the polls and were always excited when we got to pull the ‘big’ lever after they made their choices. I never miss a vote, even a local one, and that is truly just a homage to my parents.

    Of course I want my candidates to win but more I hope we all get a result. The talking heads on tv media are saying it could be so close that there will have to be a count that could go on to the 17th. Hate That!

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  4. CindyS

    Having studied history, I fear what my life would be like without my right to vote. I get giddy also and probably say the same words every time `people died for my right to vote and I honour them by voting`. Luckily my husband thinks I`m cute.

    When I turned 18 (voting age) there were 2 major parties and 1 kind of joke party (Canada). I remember my father getting out the paper and it had all the party platforms on a 2 page spread. I sat there for hours only to discover, much to my own horror, that I was most inline with the 3rd party which had never held a seat in government. Didn`t matter, I voted for them and again, no seats. It`s 20 years later and the party is now a real contender in our Federal government. Does this mean I vote for them every time – nope. For me, it`s about the issues of today not yesterday.

    As to election night coverage, I can`t really handle it as I know the answer will be revealed in the morning.

    And the only other tradition my parents have handed down is that I never tell people who I voted for (except here ;)). I usually know who my husband is going to vote but I never ask and he has never asked me who I vote for. I like that.

    All that said, I`ll be glad when this US election is over also. I watch too much political tv and since our most conservative Canadians would be seen as liberal, I can find myself growling at our TV. And I do wonder if there will be re-counts going on this year – unless the pre-polls are way off. Which they might just be. But we`ll know sometime Wednesday.


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  5. LinnieGayl AAR Post author

    jml, what a great memory for you of your parents’ voting.

    Cindy, I love your first voting experience. And I love what you say each time before voting. I like the notion of honoring those who gave their lives so that we can vote.

    Two days, now!

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  6. Missie

    CindyS: And the only other tradition my parents have handed down is that I never tell people who I voted for (except here ).I usually know who my husband is going to vote but I never ask and he has never asked me who I vote for.I like that.All that said, I`ll be glad when this US election is over also.I watch too much political tv and since our most conservative Canadians would be seen as liberal, I can find myself growling at our TV.And I do wonder if there will be re-counts going on this year – unless the pre-polls are way off.Which they might just be.But we`ll know sometime Wednesday.Cindy

    I never say who I’ve voted for, either — those close to me know how I vote. When I was in my mid 20s, I worked on a military base for a government contractor, and when I returned from voting, he asked me who I’d voted for. *shock* That’s not at all appropriate, especially in the workplace, and scrambling for a response that wouldn’t start an argument, I said, “I voted my conscience.”

    My boss didn’t quite know how to respond to that. ;-) And ever since, if someone asks me how I vote or how I will vote, that is my answer. :-)

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  7. Blythe

    I loved this, LinnieGayl! I also remember going into the voting booth with my mom – way back in 1976. And the line was much longer than any I have waited in.

    I really like to vote on Election Day; I’m just nerdy that way. My husband and older daughter voted early, and though i came with them I wanted to wait until the actual day. My college daughter voted by absentee ballot (or just mail-in. I am not sure that they differentiate now). It was a proud moment for me to see my two girls vote in their first presidential election.

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