Voting Booth Nostalgia

As Election Day approaches, I want to post an article I wrote as an op-ed piece last year(11/5/10), right after my polling site went digital. I encourage everyone reading this to get out and exercise their rights on November 8th!

Step into the booth. Yank the door shut. Swish…

No, you’re not
Superman; but you feel like you could be… Click… Click… click,click,click….
Click… click, click, click….click.

Look up, then
down the columns; oops- flip…click. Look again.

Take a deep
breath…. Grab, and pull the lever with all your might. Swoosh! You feel the
power as you cast your vote!

A New York polling place, showing booths on th...

Image via Wikipedia

Unfortunately those days are gone.
Now, with the Digital Image Scanner, those feelings of empowerment are over.
The next generation of voters will feel as satisfied about fulfilling their
citizen’s duty as they would taking an exam.

Take a card. Fill in the dots.
Double check for neatness and accuracy. Feed it into the electronic machine-
which will then thank you for your vote. Where’s the connection to that?

As a young person growing up in the
70’s, I was very aware of the importance of voting. Not only did I see it as a
way of choosing representatives and leaders, but I also knew how long and hard
civil rights groups had struggled to achieve that goal.

The Nineteenth Amendment, which gave
women the right to vote, wasn’t ratified for 72 years after the Seneca Falls convention. It was also fifty years after
men of color were given voting rights in the Fifteenth Amendment (although it
took several revisions of The Voting Rights Act in the 1960’s-70’s to end

As a parent these days, I teach my
children the obligation we have as American citizens and tell them about the
hardships people face trying to vote in other parts of the world. Walking miles
to the nearest polling place, enduring long waits in lines, being threatened or
attacked by militants opposed to democracy: all are trials I could never
imagine happening in America.
It does make one realize that the right to vote should never be taken lightly.

I understand the convenience of the
optical scanner and the way it makes counting ballots faster. However, it could
prove to be an even greater challenge to encourage young people to vote. Unlike
going into a private booth, clicking levers and pulling the curtains open, this
new method of voting is void of excitement. What percentage of the young
population is really going to be motivated to do something that resembles a
standardized test?

Voting booth

Image via Wikipedia

Call me nostalgic, but today’s
voting equivalent leaves me feeling like Clark
whose powers have been severely depleted by Kryptonite. I will continue to vote
every year, but I deeply regret that my own children will never get to
experience the sense of pride and power that every vote deserves.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 11:15:19

    I remember those voting booths, the mechanics of voting. I remember going to a booth and coloring in the boxes/circles and depositing the card. Now, the ballot is mailed to me, I study the candidates/issues, make my choices, mark the appropriate circles, mail it back. But I have grown jaundiced by the inability of our elected officials to work together, to work for the country rather than for their parties or themselves, and I think that is what has tarnished the voting experience for me. Sadly, I no longer feel that my vote has any meaning at all.



  2. themiddlegeneration
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 12:49:39

    I agree; today’s voters are feeling less empowered than ever. Our system desperately needs to be fixed. If we could just find a candidate who actually stood up for his/her beliefs maybe things would be different, but unfortunately once they are elected they get trapped by the way things work (or don’t work). And let’s not even mention all the redistricting that happened… no wonder voters are losing interest. It will still be a few years until my children are of age. I plan to at least be a good model for their sake.



  3. suzicate
    Nov 07, 2011 @ 20:15:33

    I think Carol said it when she stated she didn’t feel her vote has any meaning at all. Many feel that way. Nor do they feel heard as the politician promise this and that and go back on their word. They have distanced themselves from the voters…just take a look at their benefits compared to the average person…this system has caused many to lose faith in the system. Still, I vote anyway because I feel it is my duty.



  4. themiddlegeneration
    Nov 08, 2011 @ 09:04:36

    That is the message I try to give to my kids. They see the news about elections overseas where there is major turmoil, or see debates among US candidates; so I hope they understand their right to choose their leaders is valuable and not to be taken lightly. I may try to take one of them with me today, just to reinforce the act.



  5. Trackback: Its Election Day time to get out there and VOTE! « Outside Perception
  6. Trackback: Voting rights | Bell Book Candle
  7. Trackback: A Voting Reflection | themiddlegeneration

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