Wednesday, February 13, 2008

essay time: vote and die

WHAT'S UP THE PIKE: Donna Edwards thumps Al Wynn in District 4; Icy roads shut down parts of Route 29; former Blake parent Phil Kauffman wins school board at-large seat.

Paint Branch High, my polling place, was surprisingly empty at 3pm the afternoon of Election Day.

You know what voting yesterday earned me? Two near-crashes, one on Cherry Hill Road driving back to College Park, and another on campus, harriedly trying to make my way back to the parking garage and to the relative safety of our slick sidewalks. I was no longer surprised at how quiet Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville was when I went a couple of hours earlier to take part in the democratic process.

The parking lot was empty save for a few cars, some people handing out flyers, and a woman bopping around with a "Hillary" sign. "Would you like a flyer?" a gentleman says, holding out a sheet that looks like it was done up on Microsoft Word ten minutes earlier. "Vote Vincent Martorano for Congressman," is what I think it says. (Martorano, whose Post profile is completely blank, ran as a Republican.) "I won't take my hands out of my pockets," I reply.

A woman approaches, holding some soggy flyers for Donna Edwards. "Sir, I'd like you to consider that Al Wynn -" she begins. "No," I say, cutting her off as I go inside.

there's so much more AFTER THE JUMP . . .

I feel bad about brushing them off. I don't like taking flyers that I'm just going to throw away, and I don't want to be told who to vote for. (Perhaps it is ironic that I, a blogger, would say this.) So when I came back outside, I decided to apologize. On my way out the door, I'm accosted by the woman waving a Hillary sign. "Are you old enough to vote?" she says to me. "Um, yes," I reply, rather put off, and keep walking. "Well, I'm a lot older than you are," she continues. "How old are you?"

"Nineteen, almost twenty," I say. "Wow! It's so good to see you young people out here!" she says. "Normally, I see so many old people!"

One of the election judges walks over to her. "Ma'am, you are too close to the polling place with your sign," he barks, and she shuffles away, chagrined.

"Your flyers are getting soggy," I say to the woman who supports Donna Edwards. "Yeah, I've been out here since 6:30," she replies.

"6:30?" I say, dumbfounded. "Did you eat?"

"Yes, I've gone inside a couple of times to warm up, and they brought me food."

"And you," I say to the Republican, "How long have you been out here?

"They've been sending me to different polling places today," he replies, "and I went home to warm up and take a nap.

Donna Edwards [or her proxy] scoffs. "You got to warm up at home."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like Kauffman "thumped" the union supported candidate (Muskin). It's awesome that we'll get an independent voice on the board of education!