Friday, November 11, 2016

A cold and broken Hallelujah

On Tuesday I got up at 3:30 a.m. to be at the polling place by 4:15. I helped set up the voting booths, put out signs, and set up the "Poll Pads," iPads that were used to scan voters' identification cards and confirm their registration so they could vote.

The polls opened at 6:00 a.m., and there were people waiting to vote when we opened the doors. There were never any long lines, but there was a steady stream of voters throughout the day. We greeted people as they came in, and held the door for voters on crutches and using walkers. We watched people take cell phone photos of their teenage children, voting for the first time. We asked a man waring a Trump tee shirt to cover it up or turn it inside out, since no one is allowed to wear or carry any kind of political messages inside the polling place.

In the middle of the day, a woman came out of the voting booth crying, and she said through her tears, "My mother told me all my life that I could do anything I wanted, but I never thought I would get the opportunity to vote for a woman for president." I got up from my seat and hugged her, and it was all I could do not to cry with her.

The polls closed at 7:00 p.m., and by the time we had sent the runner off with the digital cards from the machines, signed the paper tapes, and packed up all of the equipment, it was 8:00 p.m., and I was worn out.

When Bob woke me up on Wednesday morning to tell me the results of the election, it felt like a bad dream. I'm still feeling a little numb. I believe that our elected officials deserve respect, whether we agree with them or not; I guess we'll see whether that holds true over the new few months and years. I have my doubts, but I hope I'm wrong.

I'm glad that I had the opportunity to participate in the election process, and happy that everything went so smoothly, at least from our perspective. I understand that the advance voting that allowed us to have virtually no lines on election day caused the system at the county election office to overload, requiring a manual recount.

The system isn't perfect.

Leonard Cohen passed away today, and everyone has been quoting his lyric, "there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." We just have to keep looking for the light.