Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A New Side of My Right

I was awake pig-stinkin' early today and, in fact, I didn't even really resent it. I'm seeing a new side of the elections this year.

You see, I have voted in every election since I turned 18. I may have missed a few primaries, but I have never missed a November election (that I can remember, anyway). I was raised in a politically active family. My father was (maybe still is?) a Precinct Committeeman for our area, and he served on the local (and maybe higher) Board of Elections when I was young. I had a Social Studies teacher in High School that teased me because I could be counted on to give "the Republican Viewpoint" in every discussion. He found it doubly hilarious that I was close friends with the granddaughter of a Democrat Senator.

I remember my very first election when I turned 18. It was a Big Deal! I proudly went in, sure that I was studied and ready to cast a knowledgeable vote. I remember being shocked by finding candidates and races on the ballot that I hadn't heard about and for which I had not prepared. I also remember that it was a Presidential Election, and I dutifully cast my vote for Ronald Reagan to help him win his re-election.

I have trained and worked in the polls, spending those long days helping people exercise their right to vote and feeling very energetic and happy to be there. I was dismayed to find that my co-workers for the day were lackadaisical, to say the least, and weren't prepared to give excellent customer service.

I have played hostess to the polls in our libraries, welcoming the poll workers and encouraging them to use the facilities, making sure they had library cards and reading materials for the slow times during the day. In 2004 when the wait time at our library branch was 6 hours long, I stirred up my staff to walk around, mingle with the neighbors, work with people to get them library cards, clear fines, help them get comfortable during their long waits. That year, we read to children all day, helped the volunteers who brought food and drinks in to the waiting voters and allowed people to have pizzas delivered to them in line.

This year, though, for the first time, I actually worked on a campaign in earnest. As you've seen, our library had a levy on the ballot. I've talked about the issue before so I won't go into it now (especially since the polls are closed, and the results are coming in now, so there's nothing you can do anyway). I helped make phone calls, I spoke to community groups, I wrote blog posts, I donated hand-knit items for the fund-raiser, and today I worked as a poll greeter at the crotch of dawn (yes, you read that correctly). It was a new side of things, and I'm glad I did it. I'm glad I found an issue that was important enough to me that I went out and really worked to see it win. I might just have to get behind some more issues in the coming years. Not tonight, though.

It's been a long day. I'm a light-weight compared to many folks who are still at the "watch party" at our campaign headquarters. It's not even 11 pm yet, and I'm calling it a day. I feel I can safely go to bed since "they" have "called it".

WE WON! THE LEVY PASSED! w00t! w00t!

And I am glad that I have had a part, not just in voting, but in helping others to learn about the issue. After all, I am a Librarian, helping people find information is what I do.

1 comment:

Netter said...

I read your post with a smile on my face. You are a true librarian and I'm happy the levy passed so that more patrons will get to experience everything you have to offer. And it's refreshing to see someone using good customer service and being proactive.