Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day Memories

What a beautiful Election Day afternoon it has turned out to be here in Portland. The promised sunshine is here, shining brightly on all the beautiful leaves, red, yellow, orange--gorgeous. Mt. Hood looks so majestic against the blue sky, still holding on to a good deal of the snow from last week even though it is better than 60 degrees down here in the city. Today is also my Mom's birthday. I am so glad it turned out nice.

Ahhh, Election Day. Some good memories, some bad. I remember our high school mock election Fall of my senior year when Jimmy Carter lost miserably to Ronald Reagan. I love Jimmy Carter. I loved him then and I love him now. He is a forward thinking, ethical man. I was sad I was unable to vote. I wanted my vote counted on the side of Jimmy Carter. I recently watched a CBS 60 minutes Lesley Stahl interview with Jimmy Carter--it made me smile. There is also an episode of Paula Deen's Food Network Show where Paula travels to good ole Plains, Georgia. They make a meal in the Carter's modest kitchen and Paula, Jimmy & Rosalyn sit down in front of the TV and eat their meal on TV trays. I love America. Anyway, this post is not a political commentary, nor a platform for my Jimmy Carter love fest.

My election day memories are not political at all, actually. When I was a child, Aunt Babe (George's Sister, Marie) used to coordinate the efforts for their local polling center near 33rd & Alberta. Mom used to be one of her volunteers. Inevitably my Sister Tiff would get sick or injured in some way on Election Day. Mom's back-up babysitter was always Aunt Babe and Election Day took them both out of action. One especially rough Election Day, Tiff and I were both at Laurelhurst Elementary School. I was probably in 6th grade and Tiff in 1st. Her class had been playing on the playground for afternoon recess. They were playing a game of Red Rover... you know, "Red Rover Red Rover, send Tiffany right over." Somehow, and don't ask me how, Tiffany ran smack into the tether ball pole. Ouch! She was down and out for the count. She ended up being mostly fine, but she did throw up on the way home.

Sometimes Dad would take us over to the voting center and we would deliver dinner to the volunteers. It was exciting watching all the people lined up and then it was kind of mysterious how they stepped in behind the curtain to cast their ballots. When I was old enough, I volunteered there as well. It felt like I was making a difference by helping out on Election Day. Of course the time of polling booths and voting at the local library or bank or community center is gone here in Oregon. We are 100% mail in ballot only. There's really no mystery in that. But it was fun while it lasted. Maybe that is why I always procrastinate until Election Day to fill out my ballot... and run over to our local drop box at A-Boy just before 8pm, so I can feel some of the excitement. Or maybe I am just a procrastinator :).


Chris said...

I didn't know Oregon was 100% mail in ballot only. I learn something new from BARELY SANE in every post :) Following on your voting theme, Akiko and I learned from an Australian friend when she was in Tokyo last summer that in Australia if you do not vote (and do not have a valid and sufficient reason for failing to vote) you are subject to a fine. I thought this was a great idea. Voter turnout in the US averages only a little over 50%. In Australia it is around 95%. Think about what kind of an effect on the balance of power in US politics it might have to require everyone to vote...

kjlubitz said...

Chris, you have been away too long. Oregon has been mail in for years. Maybe since the late 90's. I can't remember. We usually have a decent turnout. I think they were expecting better than 70%, but not sure if they got it. It looks like we may have a Republican Governor for the first time since the 80's. Weird. Maybe not, they are still counting the ballots. I know in theory everyone should vote, I'm just not sure it is practical. Plus, it seems people do not research the issues. I mean sure, people are going to disagree, but so many people do not want increased taxes and yet, they vote yes on things that are going to raise their taxes and then wonder why their taxes are raised and then blame it on the politician--when they actually voted FOR it! It looks like that happened last night with a few measures. Ugh, don't get me started :).