I live in the liberal enclave of Park Slope, Brooklyn where toddlers in ironic t-shirts chomping kale chips rule the scene, but my homeland is about 25 minutes away in Staten Island, NY, where giant SUVs, velour tracksuits and fist pumps are king. Why haven't I changed my voting district yet? Like most things that motivate me, it's a gentle mix of nostalgia and laziness. a) I keep forgetting to change my voting district and b) I like going back to my old grammar school and voting with my mom!
Walking into the ol' P.S. 23 gym (where I once saw a mean boy break my best friend's silver glitter baton in two — the horror…the horror…) I felt that biennial surge of wistfulness quickly give way to anxiety. This was my first time voting with the new electronic system, and lately, when it comes to unfamiliar technology designed for the masses, I'm as bad as my mother (put any new credit card swiper in front of me at the drugstore and I will inevitably try to insert my card nine different ways before finally getting it. And don't get me started on the "OK" vs. "GO" buttons.)
I missed the old curtained booths, and I always loved the old KER-CHUNK of the lever signifying my vote being counted, because it felt authoritative and irreversible. After comparing the proper pronunciations of our last names with the adorable old Italian men at the check-in (none of whom, I'm pleased to report, was in a sweatsuit) I moseyed on over to my spot, filled out the scantron (more school flashbacks!) and probably broke a few rules by turning to my mother in the corral next to me and asking her how I should vote on the two ballot initiatives. I walked over to the scanner, saw the nice guy in the Yankees cap manning it clearly violate some other set of rules by looking directly at my selections, and ZIP! ZAP! ZONK! put it right in the machine, where, as my public school education taught me, fourteen hamsters ran really fast until my ballot was turned into molecules and sent into the TV screens for the President to look at. Hooray for the electoral process!
Tags: Amazing True Voting Stories!, Cramming for Midterms, Election Day, New York