I woke up early today, proofed my paper for class one last time and printed out a final copy. Nick woke up early too, so he could vote before work. As I was getting ready to leave, Nick offered to give me a ride to work so could go and wait in line together before voting. Nick put my bike in his car and I printed out our voter guides from http://theballot.org/.
We got to the polls before 8:30, and the lines were surprisingly shorter than they were in the primaries (then again, I did my primary voting in the evening.) As we got out of the car I couldn't stop beaming.
As I walked through the door to East Side Neighborhood services I have to admit I teared up just a little. The first East Side Neighborhood services building opened in 1915 to serve immigrant, refugee and low income individuals and families. Our neighborhood has always been diverse, and the new building is another amazing resource for the community. My mother came to this country from Poland and my Father came from Sri Lanka... and I couldn't help but think about them and their path to America years before they met, years before I was born...
I was a bit wary after reading the news and was pleasantly surprised after I arrived. East Side Neighborhood services was extremely well organized. The volunteers were efficient, friendly and helpful. I don't think I stopped smiling the whole time I was there.
I saw a young Somali couple and the husband translating the volunteer's instructions for her so she could understand where to go and what to do.
I saw a kid's voting booth set up and a bunch of little kids, excited to cast their "vote" too.
I saw a bunch of wonderful volunteers that gave up their day to help people like me have a chance to vote.
I sat down at a table and filled out my ballot. As the volunteers collected unused pens, they respectfully did so without looking at what we were doing. I was so excited I wanted to take a picture of my ballot, but didn't think that would be appropriate as I had chosen to sit at one of the open, non-private tables. Nick finished before I did and waited for me outside. I wrapped up my ballot in the privacy-folder and walked over to the machine. After waiting in another small line, I submitted my votes. Voter #547 for the day.
Taking a picture of myself with my new phone is tricky... but the point comes across.