I had to laugh that while Bruce Springsteen hitched a ride on Air Force One to rally crowds for the president in Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa yesterday, Kid Rock played to Romney crowds in New Hampshire. Close readers of this blog will know that I’m actually a big Kid Rock fan. But let’s face it. He’s not “The Boss.”
And to really “Kid Rock the Vote” in the future, I’d suggest that whoever wins – and may it be the best man – makes sure that school is in session on the next Election Day.
I realize that some institutions are polling sites. But with today’s closures coming after four days off due to storm damage, and with teacher conferences this Wednesday and Friday, my twins will have attended school a grand total of three days in two weeks. If I’d been able to deposit them at kindergarten this morning, I could have glided less encumbered to cast my ballot. Instead, I found myself rushing out at 6:45 a.m. to the Mary Drexel House on Belmont Avenue to vote before my husband left for work.
But I really can’t complain. The fact that daylight savings just ended meant my kids awoke at 5 a.m. again today, so I didn’t even need to set an alarm. While it was chilly standing in the early polling line, the next nor’easter isn’t due until tomorrow. And our voting site is still standing – which unfortunately can’t be said about so many locations ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Furthermore, queuing up in the cold with other early enthusiastics felt rather festive – a sort of breaking-dawn bash to celebrate the end of a long and bitter campaign. Holding coffee mugs and wearing hats and gloves, we chatted about how lucky we were to be able to vote with no hitches. One woman applied her makeup in line. An elderly gentleman in a bowtie and beret mentioned that he was trying to make an 8:02 a.m. train. Seeing that he was clutching the yellow “Montgomery County Democratic Party Official Sample Ballot,” I urged him toward the front. Others seemed to share my sentiment because the fellow got in first.
But as I moved closer to the door and the warmth of the voting booth, I started to get a little nervous. I fumbled around in my wallet for my registration card, which, it turns out, I didn’t need. Inside, a kind lady found my name in her book, and I signed with a jittery flourish – trying to make my new signature match the original as closely as possible. All the brouhaha about voter fraud has made me a little paranoid.
Then off I slipped, through some curtains, into a booth to confront a large and confusing screen. I had flutters in my stomach as I pressed “E11,” the “Democratic Straight Party,” and saw lights flicker on next to the names of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bob Casey, Jr. and the rest of my candidates. My obsessive compulsions kicking in, I checked and checked and checked again before pushing the orange “CAST VOTE” button at the lower right side of the machine. Pennsylvania is a swing state, after all, and every ballot matters.
My kids – well, maybe not my 2-year-old – have picked up on this fact. Last night at dinner, my son told us his class had held a mock election by writing “Rs” and “Os” on slips of paper. I was pleased to hear the “Os” prevailed. And when I pulled up in front of our house after voting this morning, I smiled at my 5-year-old daughter’s version of a get-out-the-vote sign stuck on a Popsicle stick in one of our planters.
“Who won, mommy?” my son asked when I walked in the door.
“We don’t know yet.”
“When will we know?”
“Tomorrow,” I said, hoping I was right.
With both sides having “lawyered up” in anticipation of voter disputes, with polling site and ballot issues in storm ravaged areas, and with what, by many accounts, still seems to be a tight race, I fear it could be days before the final outcome. In the meantime, my son has been keeping me busy by asking 124 questions an hour about the election. His queries reached a sort of fever pitch this evening, as we watched coverage on CNN. “Is Obama winning?” Griffin kept asking. “Tell me if Obama wins while I’m in the tub.”
“Is someone going to win the election?” Griffin finally asked, with an exasperated sigh, when I kissed him goodnight. Apparently, my son has absorbed enough about our illogical and dysfunctional electoral process that he’s afraid we’ll wind up leaderless, like a soccer team without a coach.
To ease his anxiety, I promised Griffin I’d wake him up with preliminary results after the polls close on the West Coast. Hopefully, I will be able to celebrate good news with him – and our country – in the morning.