Vote

Kim could have voted in this election – but she didn’t.

You hear a lot of how dead people vote and we could have sent in her ballot application and voted for her. We certainly knew who she supported. But we didn’t.

I can’t even say that Kim wouldn’t have wanted us to. I don’t think she would have ever cheated herself but I don’t think she would have minded if we cheated for her.

As passionate as Kim was about her candidate, we let her ballot application sit on the dining room table unopened.

Maggie and I voted by mail weeks ago.

Years ago Kim and I were traveling in Europe and someone asked us where we were from.

“The United States,” Kim said.

“Which state?” the man asked.

“Ohio,” Kim answered.

The man knew that Ohio had been instrumental in electing Bush and talked to us about the American election.

Just amazing. I can’t imagine the average American being that knowledgeable about European politics.

 

A few years into our marriage Kim said something about the election results that really shocked me. She and I mostly voted on the same side of issues and candidates. She said something that indicated her politics had been very different in her youth. It was something I hadn’t known about her.

As involved and progressive and passionate as she was about helping people, I couldn’t see this former self – this Kim that I hadn’t known.

Kim was indignant the year that the Ohio Secretary of State was invalidating voter registration applications that were submitted on paper that was not the correct weight. All the information on the application was correct but it wasn’t on 24 pound paper.

Some years we’d vote together. Many years we’d vote separately. She’d have to vote on her way to or from work and I’d go during the day. Most years we voted together.

One year Kim and I walked over to the elementary school to vote. When we got there we were told it wasn’t our polling place any more.

“Where do we go now?” Kim asked.

“We’re not allowed to tell you,” a poll worker and neighbor said.

Not allowed to tell us.

Thank goodness we brought the postcard with us that had our polling place on it. We brought it for identification and hadn’t thought to check whether our location was the same. We walked a couple of blocks to Woodbury school and voted.

Not allowed to tell us.

Kim would get so upset about voter suppression. You should encourage everyone to vote – whether they agree with you or not.

One year Kim manned the phones for people who had questions about voting or needed a ride to the polls. Call after call came in from African American voters who told Kim that they needed a ride tomorrow.

“Tomorrow?” she asked, “voting is today.”

“Oh no,” one woman answered, “I got a call telling me that the polls were too crowded today and that I could vote on Wednesday.”

Someone was deliberately targeting voters they thought would vote Democrat and convincing them not to vote.

This year we’re seeing it as ad campaigns telling Democrats they can vote via email or text.

You should encourage everyone to vote – whether they agree with you or not.

Kim and I would often vote by mail. We’d discuss the issues, we’d ask friends about the judicial candidates, and we’d vote.

We didn’t always vote the same way.

We always voted for schools, libraries, county mental health, and so on. Sometimes there were policy issues we disagreed on. We differed a couple of times in the primaries. I don’t remember us ever arguing about politics – our differences were minor and we could always see each other’s point of view. When we differed, the truth was we were happy if either of our positions won.

Mostly we loved the process.

When I was little, my mom was an election judge in the precinct that voted a block from our house at Prospect school.

I would go visit and play with the sample voting machine. You would flip mechanical switches and then you would press something to open the curtain behind you and it would record your vote and reset the switches.

Kim and I punched cards at the polling place and filled in ovals in our vote by mail ballots.

This year her application sits on the dining room table.

She is one dead person who won’t be voting this year.

My guess is that almost no dead people vote – despite what you may have heard.

Kim won’t be voting and she won’t be watching the election returns with me tonight.

I’m cautious about saying “Kim would have wanted” to justify things.

Kim would have wanted me to eat this ice cream.

Kim would have wanted me to buy a new Mac Book Pro.

Who knows.

I do know, Kim would have wanted you to vote – no matter who and what you support.

 

 

Published in: on November 8, 2016 at 9:16 am  Leave a Comment  

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