Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Voters

A few thoughts on Inauguration Day, elections and "my voters."
My retail manager husband always said that success starts with the way a customer is treated at the cash register. There is probably a little more to it, but I think it is the same with elections. Voter turnout has a lot to do with how the voter is treated where the vote is cast. As a precinct manager who is responsible for the satisfied voting of a few more than 2400 registered voters, I have become aware of what makes my voters leave the polling place with smiles and warm greetings. And I know that if they don't come to vote, elections don't work.

In November, when I arrived at 6 AM, to get ready for the day, there were already close to 100 lined up at the door. The number had doubled when we opened the polls at seven. Later, when someone asked if I had arranged for crowd control, I discovered a line of about 250 weaving its way through the parking lot. I asked if there was trouble; I thought maybe arguments or fighting. Oh no, I was told. "Everyone is visiting, laughing and talking. They're just in the way of cars!"

By mid-morning, our lines were down and only a few at the time waited by the door. They moved through the process quickly and, twelve hours later, fewer than 500 had passed up their chance to help make the decisions of the day. My voters come from two very different socio-economic precincts, one which is heavily Democratic and the other which is Republican. My oldest voter is a tiny little lady in her mid-90s; the youngest, just old enough to vote for the first time. Who they vote for is not my job. That they are able to vote is.

At close of polls, the decisions have been made -- the votes just need to be counted. The road to Inauguration Day begins and ends with my voters.

November Tree
My Voters -- by Rainier Ehrhardt - Augusta Chronicle - December 4, 2008

BushStrokes (c) AAB

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