I took my daughter with me to vote yesterday, as I try to do every year. We ran into one of her best friends so it became a party -- they got sample ballots from the very patient poll worker and pestered me with questions about what the heck Proposal #2 was asking and could they help me fill in the little black bubbles.
These days, it never occurs to me not to vote, but it did once. In 2006, very pregnant, I contemplated just going home, rather than get off the train, take the subway, walk, and vote. My commute was long. My feet were swollen. I was tired. It wasn't an "important" election. But I headed to the polls with steely resolve, thinking about the two students missing from my last class of the day.
One student left me a note. The other emailed me. Both had gone home to vote. It was their first time. They were new citizens. One headed to Brooklyn. The other, Boston.
Boston? I asked the other students in the class.
Yeah, they said. Her father came and picked her up. He's bringing her back tonight.
So I finished teaching. Walked to the train. Got on the subway. Walked to the polling station. And I voted.
Voting should not be a chore, but sometimes it feels that way. Finding the time to get to the polls, park, stand in line, remember your district number, and fill out the ballot can be tough on a busy weekday, especially when kids aren't in school. By bringing my daughter, I hope I've turned it into a family affair, a fun exercise in democracy that will hopefully ensure she will always make it to the polls herself someday.