by Mary Hopper
Voting seems very different this year. At 79 years of age, many of them spent being active in campaigns at all levels, I have never felt such a sense of joy at casting my vote.
I am not alone.
Voting has become something to share; how, when, where messages flood my inbox. On Next Door, strangers tell me how long they waited, how easy the process was. Touting Bojangles Coliseum as a voting location, a friend’s Facebook post reports feeling “Exuberant.” Another buddy shared the picture of a dancing security guard at West Blvd Branch and said the two-hour wait on day one was “totally worth it.” Today, my oldest friend called from Spectrum Center where she and her husband had discovered the convenience of curbside voting.
Voting details pour in from across the U.S. I got an email describing a close friend’s first vote in her brand-new home state of Texas. I learned that my daughter and son-in-law plan to vote soon in Brooklyn while my brother and sister-in-law voted by mail in West Virginia. My nieces in Oregon and Illinois check in, asking for details on how voting is going in North Carolina. Friends in my south Georgia hometown say that election lines at the courthouse gave them hope for a better outcome this election cycle.
I cannot ever recall being asked, “When and how did you vote?” by so many people.
Nor do I remember getting as many messages urging me to vote. Instead of responding with a simple “ Yes, I am voting,” I reported how much I was looking forward to voting the next day. The stranger who had texted me quickly replied, “Enjoy. ” Another politically active friend says she even got a hand written thank you note to her positive reply.
We were all encouraged to “make a plan,” so I did. First I ordered and studied my absentee ballot and recruited my witness. I devoted a lot of time getting educated on the down-ballot races. Then instead of thinking I would mail it back and put a tracker on it, I briefly considered a hand delivery to the Board of Elections office.
Finally as early voting opened, I had this overwhelming need to vote in person. I simply had to exercise this important right in the company of others. I explored my 33 local early voting options and decided I wanted to validate the generosity of our sports teams by voting either at Spectrum Center or BofA Stadium – the Panthers won.
There are not enough accolades for how easy the staff made it or how gracious and helpful they were. Likewise the Mecklenburg Board of Elections deserves much praise for their planning and execution. The new system was well explained and simple to follow. At the end of the process, there was something very reassuring about holding that paper ballot and feeding it into the tabulator yourself.
I hope that you, too, are celebrating your right to shape the future.
Go vote and then share your experience with others.
A Note From CWM...
Election 2020. This fall we’ve come full circle, starting with our series honoring Black women and the history of their fight for the right to vote, to this moment where we are fighting for ALL votes to be counted in 2020. As many people are saying, this election seems to be the most important in our lifetime. Make sure your voice is heard. VOTE!
For the story behind the #SheVotesNow series click this link.