Taking a moment to recall my memories of Election Day 2008. We still had two operating shifts at the office, and evening shift was mine. I set my alarm to get up and go vote as soon as polling booths were open. My voting location, based on where I was living at the time, was Briarcliff Elementary School. I parked (in the street, as the school’s parking lot was already packed) and walked up to get in a line that was probably about 75 deep at that point. Once polls opened at 6am, the line moved swiftly. There were a decent number of booths available, and the staff worked diligently at getting all voters checked in and ready to go. I stepped through the curtain, cast my ballot, and then went home and back to bed.
Fast-forward to later that evening, and being at the office. Since I couldn’t be around a television to keep tabs on voting results coming in, I did what I figured to be the next best thing. I set up an Excel file on my work computer that would tabulate electoral votes as I plugged in the results of each state once they were announced “official”. My source? CNN, courtesy of the Sirius/XM satellite setup at my desk. By the time my work shift ended at midnight, we already had full results in, the Excel sheet was filled out, and Obama had already claimed the 270 electoral votes he needed to officially win. At midnight, I clocked out and went home, and caught up on news on the television.
This year, arranging time to vote was a matter of working it into my regular weekday schedule. Thankfully, because of still being registered in Missouri, my polling location was in close proximity to both daycare and my office. Virtually no crowd, based on the location and population around there, and was able to get to work with no worries about being cut short on time. As I sit here, I know that by the time I’m off work at 4:30, the election won’t be anywhere close to being finalized. I honestly see this one being much closer to Bush/Gore in 2000 than the last couple of elections. Will this one take days (or weeks) to be decided? It’s hard to say, especially with the northeast chaos and confusion that Hurricane Sandy left in her path. What I do know is that when I leave here, I’ll go pick my daughter up from daycare, and go home. My fiancee will be voting after she’s off work today, and then we’ll all be at home together, tracking progress and incoming results.
My life has changed a lot between then and now. Living in a different place – different state, even (although still voting via the old state). I’m in a different relationship. I’m a family man now. Four years ago, I was full of excitement and enthusiasm towards the election, and was a lot more emotionally vested into it. This election just doesn’t feel the same. There are things I like, and don’t like, about each side of the two major parties. It’s a much closer decision to me. Maybe I’m just old(er). Maybe I have a different perspective now.
What I do know is this: it’s up to you to be the change you want to see, and that starts with casting your vote. If it goes your way, great. If it doesn’t, go to sleep that night knowing that you tried. And if you ask me – if given the option of choosing electronic or paper ballot, I always stick with paper.