Call me nostalgic, but I like the drama of voting on voting day itself instead of voting early: hiking to the polling place, standing in line, greeting the polling place workers, and casting a ballot live and in person.
As Winston Churchill said: “At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little piece of paper – no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point.
Choosing the top of the ticket wasn’t hard. Some of the down-ballot choices were mystifying, especially the long list of judicial candidates. You can see the ballot for my neighborhood (and the vote totals after today) at the DNAinfo news website.
To be an informed voter, I studied every voting guide and endorsement list I could find or received in our mailbox: the Chicago Tribune (which endorsed Gary Johnson for president), Cook County Democratic Party (Clinton, no surprise), Independent Voters of Illinois, Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, Chicago NOW PAC, Asian American Bar Association, Black Women’s Lawyers Association, Chicago Council of Lawyers, Cook County Bar Association, Hispanic Lawyer’s Association, Illinois Bar Association, Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago, Puerto Rican Bar Association, Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, Committee to Elect Qualified Judges, and Chicago Votes Action Fund.
Everybody had an opinion and was eager to share it.
I compared the lists, did some additional research, and made a cheat-sheet to take into the ballot booth, an accepted practice in Illinois. I needed that. Seriously, there were more than 60 judicial positions on the ballot. What a litigious town!
My voting place is the Church of Atonement Episcopal, three blocks away. On the way I passed the address where Hillary Rodham Clinton spent the first three years of her life. Yes, she once lived only a block away from my house.
I expected a line. I’d returned some books at the Edgewater branch of the public library yesterday, which housed an early voting site, and the line started at the door, went up the steps, around the perimeter of the main room, down the hall, and finally into the room with the voting booths.
So I took my Kindle. Instead, the line was almost non-existent, and the election judges were cheerful and efficient. I got my four-foot-long, two-page paper ballot and a pen (not a pencil), and spent a while completing arrows next to candidates and referendum questions, then fed my ballot pages into the counting machine. They were number 388 and 389.
I got my “I VOTED! DID YOU?” bracelet, said thank you, peeked into the church sanctuary (nice stained glass) for a quick prayer for God’s mercy on our country, and left.
Then I bought some still-warm tortillas on the way home. Taco Tuesday, you know.
This evening, we’ll find out what happened. I recommend this guide to election night with a helpful non-partisan analysis, a map, and a chart.
No amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of what all of us did today for democracy.
— Sue Burke