Voting – what a privilege!
Municipal Elections yesterday were the most chaotic I’ve ever participated in. There were lines. We were getting configured, so we wouldn’t be looking over the shoulders of voters with ballots.
A man was chatting me up, and then said, “Well, I’ll be quiet because I can tell you don’t want me talking to you.”
I paused, so I could give an honest answer. He was describing his former 58 inch waist, and how he was told in 1994 that he would die soon and how refined foods almost killed him. My honest response was “I don’t mind listening. I just don’t have much to say, and my brain is preoccupied with the supper I left in the oven and the kids I left at home.” The lady in front of me seemed incredibly uncomfortable in crowds and irritated with every sound including the chatty dude with a now smaller than 58 inch waist.
Parents came with children, probably not expecting the get your ballot lines anymore than I was. Staff was asking them to not let the children run the bleachers and then not to run on the basketball court. It felt like the real mess of real community. Competing needs in a confined multipurpose location.
And the election workers introduced me to my new favourite word, scrutineer. Men with big scrutineer buttons peered over the ballot distributing women’s shoulders to make sure all was rightly handled. Then I sat behind me cardboard shield with a magic pen and ticked off the names I chose on the website earlier. And then my ballot was scantronned away into what looked like an ATM machine.
And I left happy. I love to vote because,
1. As an immigrant, I used to not be able to vote.
2. A few years ago, I was waiting to bring my child home from Haiti when Haiti had the first democratic transition of government that went off without a hitch. The election results and post election issues directly impacted my family, and it made me really appreciate the beauty of democratic elections when they run well.
3. Half of my family would not have been allowed to vote less than a hundred years ago.
4. I like choosing who decides what’s happening in my city, and whether or not I like all of the results I like the chaos that’s community and the cohesion of working together while being so varied.