Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Voter's Saga

Did you know the Virginia congressional primaries were today? I didn't -- at least, not until this morning. But I think it's important to vote. America is a democracy, and voting is how we preserve it. It's hardly some big imposition on my life to do my civic duty, is it?

This is my story:

6:20 PM: Step off the metro at courthouse and walk to the Arlington County building, where I cast my ballot for the gubernatorial race this past fall. Realizing that I have no idea what races are being contested, let alone who is running, I check my phone for information.

6:30 PM: I've discovered I'm in Virginia's 8th district, where Rep. Jim Moran (D) is retiring. Never liked him anyway. A whole slew of Democrats are running to replace him, but the Washington Post indicates that there is a pretty clear frontrunner in Don Beyer who seems decent enough. Also discover that the polls close at 7 PM. This does not seem to be a big deal -- I'm already here, after all.

6:35 PM Ask for directions to the polling place. Am told that the government building only handles in-person absentee balloting, but if I go to third floor they can direct me to my polling place.

6:40 PM: Am informed my polling place is at the local elementary school. It's a short walk from the government building, and I know exactly where it is. Plenty of time.

6:48 PM: Reach the polling place. Do I have a Virginia ID? No, I do not -- I actually tried to get a Virginia driver's license, but was stymied due to my mistaken belief that my social security card would establish my identity. Since I never drive, I never tried again. Utility bill? Voter registration card? Alas, I do not carry any with me while at work. Remember kids -- if voter ID requirements can stop an upper-class white man from voting, it can happen to anyone.

6:51 PM: Walking back to my apartment. Remind myself that I've always opposed voter ID requirements, so fulminating over my current predicament is not opportunistic. The circa 553% humidity is not helping my mood, and I'm soaking my dress shirt.

6:54 PM: Reach my apartment. Decide that if I can find my voter registration card on the first pass, I can make it back in time to vote.

6:56 PM: Miraculously, I find my voter registration card right away (miraculous both because I'm incredibly disorganized, and because my guess of "buried under a pile of papers in my second desk drawer" was right on target). Now the race is on. Literally -- I'll have to run back to the elementary school if I want to make it.

6:59 PM: After running the half-mile to the elementary school, I burst through the doors waving my registration card. Poll workers recognize me and give me a round of applause.

7:00 PM: Cast my vote for Beyer. Get sticker. Walk home drenched but satisfied.

10:49 PM: Write this post. Check results, Beyer won the race by 27 points. Totally worth it.