Early Morning, Election Day, November 6, 2012
I voted in the early election voting. Not only that, I was an early election voting official, so I can imagine the energy going on all around me at the precincts as I write.
Many polls had people in Monday night, setting up the equipment, getting ready for the 7am Tuesday start.
Poll workers arrive by 6am to turn on all the equipment and run checks. Outside, citizens are lining up waiting. Who knows when they showed up. By the time this is printed, we will know how early, how many — even who won.
To be a poll worker, you go through training for your particular job in advance. I had training as a poll book operator. I was new to this. I had used early voting in 2010 as a voting citizen; it was great for someone like me who has an irregular schedule. So this year I volunteered to help. As it turns out, you get paid to be a poll worker.
When you sign in to vote, there are two people facing you. These two people are from different parties, keeping things fair. So you sit every other person, Democrat, Republican or an unaffiliated voter, all day. Long days.
At the Edgewater Library where I was assigned, the congeniality among voting officials was wonderful. People wanted to get to know each other, across party lines, cooperating, organizing, laughing, happy, kind.
And the voters. Who could have expected there to be an hour-long line of citizens waiting to vote at 10am Saturday, October 27, at the Edgewater library, queuing down Stepney Lane? And 300 people in line by noon on Sunday when we opened the polls? People of all parties stood together in that long line, cooperating, laughing, happy, kind.
Folks who had trouble standing in line had their place marked and were escorted to chairs at the door so they didn’t have to stand for an hour or more.
It was exciting. From the time we opened on Saturday, we had a long line of voters. People still in line at 8pm got to vote, no matter how long the line was, and it was out the door.
I was in a very special community, the voting community of Edgewater, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, for this year’s election. I had the privilege of working in the midst of a diversity of citizens. We cooperated in bipartisan, tripartisan, multipartisan ways.
If my guy loses and initiatives I voted for do not prevail, I will stand up and honor the will of the majority. I will show respect for the president. This is what democracy means.
I can only imagine what it would be like to handle local issues, national issues, world issues in the cooperative way that we engage in voting at the polls in our beleaguered and beloved country, the United States of America.
–Melissa Gilcrest, Churchton