As a kid my mom always took me into the voting booth with her. She voted at PS 200 at Jewel Avenue and 164th Street. You walked into a curtained alcove, pulled a large lever to draw the curtains, then pulled tiny levers to cast a vote. The levers went down with a thud. It was built like the proverbial brick shithouse.
As a little kid looking up at the slate of candidates I was impressed. It never took Mom long. She was a straight ticket voter.
She never missed an election. My mother wasn’t politically active, but Sidney (next door) and Morris (downstairs) were both Democrats and union members and they got out the vote! Seriously, they got out my mom. It works.
I started voting in 1972. Now that I think back, I didn’t vote my first year of eligibility. ’72 was Nixon versus McGovern.
Spoiler alert: Nixon landslide.
My joke at the time was, “People said if I voted for McGovern the country would go to hell. I did. They were right.”
Since then I’ve made it my business to vote whenever called upon. It’s possible I’ve missed a primary or special election somewhere along the line, but I’m confident I’ve voted in every general election since 1972.
My individual vote has never mattered. There’s never been a contest close enough to care. It’s OK. My vote is not wasted. It’s my obligation, my civic duty.
Helaine and I voted by mail this year. Voting is super easy in California. There are loads of options. I sat out on the patio with my state authored guide and took my time.
Yes, it does feel weird to know Tuesday is election day and there’ll be no machine for me to touch. And, like all the years which preceded it my individual vote will decide nothing.
The mail in ballot comes with an “I Voted” sticker.