After the ordeal of getting a voter’s registration card in Pennsylvania (see earlier post!), I was naturally a bit nervous that all would go well this morning when I went to vote. I arrived at the Pike County Senior Center to see hundreds of cars parked along the sides of the road. Obviously I was in the right place. I found a place to park and hiked down to the line that stretched well into the parking lot and had hundreds of very cold people waiting to vote. It was 20 degrees this morning so most people were bundled up and everyone was very friendly and good-natured. The reason for this is that long lines are expected here and I was assured that, “later it will be a 3-4 hour wait!”
There were two tables outside the polling place — one for Obama and one for Romney. THE DEMOCRATS WERE GOING UP AND DOWN THE LINE WITH HOT CIDER AND MUFFINS; THE REPUBLICANS WERE STANDING AT THEIR TABLE HANDING OUT PENS!! What a wonderful metaphor, I think, for the basic difference between the two current ways of thinking. I couldn’t wait to share this which is why I rushed in to write!
An hour and a quarter later (I did have cider but no muffin), I cast my vote at one of six computer stations once I was called by the state police officer to the A-G line which didn’t have many people! What a wonderful feeling to vote! I do not remember feeling so good about the process and my participation in it since I walked into the gym at the local middle school in Jericho, Long Island, to cast my first vote after turning 18.
I am still reflecting on the diversity of those standing in line — many retirees (Pennsylvania has the second largest population of retirees in the nation), young people, couples, workers coming off the night shift, moms who had just dropped their kids off at school. I watched one young woman who didn’t have a jacket or any outerwear whatsoever — others in line offered her hats and gloves. It was quite an experience. Once I reached the “lady in pink,” who would give me my number (I was the 269th person in my precinct to vote), I recognized her from the community office. She had been there since 4:00 and wouldn’t leave until the polls closed at 8:00. We chatted for just a moment and I thought that it was really not a bad experience at all! Many people in line expressed the same sentiment, “We don’t care who people are voting for, just that they are here to vote and are willing to stand in line in the freezing weather to take part in the process!” I am very proud!