Election Day reflections

Tuesday morning, I wanted to take a picture of someone filling out an application to vote.
I needed it for Tuesday’s paper, in other words immediately, and figured I could do two errands in one by going to the Lockport Township Hall as soon as polls opened.
I became a Lockport Township resident this summer after Jimmy and I got married. We were on our honeymoon during the primary (don’t worry, I voted absentee), so I had never cast a ballot at the hall.
“It’s a presidential election — you’re not going to get out of there in under an hour,” said Jimmy, who as a nearly lifelong Lockport resident was well aware of its voter turnout patterns.
The last three years I’ve lived in the City of Three Rivers, and early morning stops there during non-presidential elections usually led to me standing around waiting for a voter to show up (so I didn’t have to put an “Application to Vote Selfie” on the front page).
“I think we can do it,” I said.
We arrived at the corner of Holtom and River roads, and my eyes nearly popped out of my head as I saw cars everywhere.
Oops. Probably should have listened to him. (What a fascinating concept!)
To the delight of Elena the American citizen, and the dismay of Elena the reporter on deadline, people were spilling out the door. As we approached, a lady waiting to vote told us, “That’s the line to get in and get an application to vote. This is the line to get back in and vote.”
I slipped in, snapped my photo and got out. We decided to celebrate the fact that it was finally Election Day by getting biscuits and gravy at an area eating establishment that had Internet access through which I could relay the picture to my colleagues in the composing department.
As we drove away, Jimmy commented on the effect that the length of time it took to vote could have on voter turnout for those who could not afford to leave their children alone, or who could not get away from work, for that extended time period.
We began to discuss no-reason absentee voting and early voting, which seemed to us to be good options to make the polls more accessible to more people by cutting down on the Election Day wait. We would encourage our legislators to find ways to make this happen, with as little additional burden as possible on our hard-working local clerks.
We ended up coming back around 10 a.m., at which time we were in and out in about 75 minutes.
Despite the long wait, thankfully it was not raining, and there was friendly camaraderie among voters. I saw a few people I recognized, and it was fun to chat with those around me as I waited. Everyone seemed calm and patient, and election inspectors were keeping things moving to the best of their ability.
I also reflected on how blessed America is to have the privilege of free elections.
Do you like how things are going? Vote for the incumbents who are making it happen.
Do you want to see a change? Vote for challengers who will effect that.
And no one knows how you voted unless you choose to share that information.
I’ll take an hour-plus wait at the polls over a violent coup any day.
Elena Meadows can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or news@threeriversnews.com.

Three Rivers Commercial-News

124 North Main Street
Box 130
Three Rivers, MI 49093

Telephone: 269-279-7488
Fax: 269-279-6007
General email: info@threeriversnews.com