All day I watched as I Voted posts filled my social media feeds. Friends shared selfies with circle or oval stickers pressed to their clothing. One picture showed Mom, Dad, Son, Daughter with stickers on their noses.
I planned to walk to my polling place and vote, but that did not happen. Morning rain cleared as I headed to the grocery store for much-needed provisions. Returning home I had less than an hour before another commitment that would continue past 7pm when the polls closed.
My daughter graciously unloaded and put away groceries as I drove to vote solo, a change from this year. I did not need any literature and quickly checked in, removing my ID from my wallet. Yearly pleasantries were exchanged with my favorite poll worker, as the man checking me in waited patiently then asked me to state my address.
I took the paper ballot and sat at a table behind a cardboard privacy shield. Looking over the ballot, I took deep breaths. Voting always reminds me of how not right everything is. I colored the ovals of my choices and walked to the scanner, which was sporadically spitting ballots back for retrys.
It’s been doing that all day.
Waiting for my ballot to scan I noticed that the exit poll worker’s hands were conspicuously empty, and that no one was getting a sticker.
Wait! Are there no stickers?
We’re all out. Someone left to go get more.
Inside my head I heard, Noooo! I really want a sticker! Tears stung my eyes, cluing me to the fact that I was experiencing feelings that were probably not about the sticker. I refrained from repeating the other words springing to mind.
I feel disenfranchised!
That would have been making light of a serious scenario, comparing myself to someone who was actually deprived of the right to vote. Though, in hindsight it feels a completely appropriate initial response, because these days if you vote and don’t get a sticker or post a selfie on social media, did you really vote?
Outside the polling place, I told one of the workers who held an armload of sample ballots, They were out of stickers! How can I prove that I actually voted?
She felt my pain and mentioned that people had been taking selfies in front of the signs.
Which I did.
Returning home, I expressed disappointment to my daughter who offered comfort in the form of suggesting I create an I Voted sign out of M&Ms. Which I did.
I left to fulfill my evening obligation. My husband voted, and daughter accompanied.
They brought me a sticker, which I made into a page in my Art Journal.
I am thankful for thoughtfulness, the ability to vote, laughter, M&Ms, a fun daughter, a conscientious husband, for scraps of paper and cardboard tissue boxes with designs on them and glue.
I am also thankful for a space to share my stories and for people who care to read them.