November 8, 2012
So, yes, I did vote. In person, even, which I find puzzling because I could swear I signed up for a mail-in ballot, and my husband and parents all got theirs. No big deal, though. My office is right across the street from the courthouse and that is the polling place for our precinct.
This has not always been the case. Until the mid-eighties the remote community that comprises our precinct had its own country school, and that was also our dance hall, community center and where we voted. The precinct is made up of mostly empty space with a ranch house every five miles or so. Total number of registered voters: generally less than fifty.
On election days my mother, aunt and a couple of other ladies would descend upon the school armed with their ballot boxes, Crock pot casseroles, plates of cookies and a very large coffee pot. Those who came to vote lingered to chat, and by the end of the day no pebble of gossip remained unturned.
The same ladies still man the voting booth–minus my mother who is otherwise occupied these days–but it is now located at the courthouse in town along with one other outlying precinct and the late voter registration. When I walked up the big front steps, through the double doors and down the marble staircase I was dismayed to see a line of at least twenty people snaking down the hall and around the corner. I hadn’t planned on taking more than a few minutes.
Then a familiar voice squealed in delight. “WE GOT ONE!”
And there, at the opposite end of the hall, were my familiar community ladies manning their familiar table, complete with plate of cookies and a Thermos of coffee. Voting still took longer than I had planned, though, because I had forgotten the obligatory pause to share the latest ‘news’. Among the nuggets of information they shared…wanna guess how many people in our precinct voted in person yesterday instead of by mail?
One. And you’re lookin’ at her.
Kari Lynn Dell – Montana for Real