Monday, November 12, 2012

Voter Anxiety

Today is voting day, but I haven’t voted yet. I’ll have to wait until my husband comes home so that we can go together. This is our tradition, and it started a few years ago when I told him that I had never voted, ever, because voting booths scare me. Incredulous, he looked at me. “You’re kidding, right?” he said. “Nope.” I told him. I was, in fact terrified of the prospect. Perhaps I’d get there and forget my name. (Sometimes I use my husband’s name, sometimes I use my maiden name. On occasion I get mixed up about what I’m supposed to call myself.) Perhaps I’d get there and be embarrassed to learn that I hadn’t registered properly. Perhaps I’d get in the booth and push the wrong button or not know which buttons to push, because without questions most of the names on the ballots would be unknown to me.

My husband is a pretty laid back guy who doesn’t pay a whole lot of attention to deadlines and rules and such, but he was absolutely insistent that I “get thee to a voting booth!” so we went together, and I voted for the very first time at the age of 34.

Come to think of it, most things having to do with governmental compliance just scares me, period. When I had to go to the Municipal Services Building to pay my Business Privilege Tax for the business I’d started, I thought I would just about die (it turned out not to be that bad, really), and I’ve yet to learn how to drive, mostly because I’m too chicken to go to the DMV and face what I imagine will be a bunch of forms and instructions and stuff.

I know this isn’t rational, but I can’t help it. I’m the person who files her taxes late just about every year because the forms intimidate me. (Once I actually filed my taxes three years late, and when I finally had to ‘fess up to my husband he said “What!? I thought you were taking care of this?” I felt guilty for a moment, but then I realized—wait a minute!—“You knew you hadn’t signed any forms, buster! Don’t play cute with me!” He grinned boyishly at that.)

Anyhoo, now that I vote regularly I feel more responsible and grown up, and it’s a good thing. All jokes asides, people have risked their lives to vote. We shouldn’t take this right lightly. Did you vote? I hope so. If you’re scared of the booth, call me. I’ll go with you, and my husband will lead both of us.


  1. Loving your blog. You are a great writer!

    I voted for the first time when I was 16. My dad was about to leave for the polls, and I kept instructing him. "Dad, don't forget to vote for Harris B McDowell, Sr., the Peace Candidate for US Senate." As I continued to make suggestions, he said, "I can't remember all these names - write them down." So I gave him a list, which he took it to the polls. He knew next to nothing about those running - just the big name LBJ at the top. When we watched election results that night, he would check his list when Delaware results were reported. "Hey, I voted for him!" he would cheer, as if we were watching a horse race. (Back then, it was almost always a “him.”)

    When I could legally access the booth, I used the write-in option to vote for my mom for Sheriff many times. Never for Alfred E Neuman, however.

    Four years later, my dad took my baby sis with him to the polls. She would have just turned five. He didn’t want to leave her alone, so they let him carry her into the voting booth. As he was pressing levers behind the curtain, she screamed, "You didn't vote for Humphrey!" Everyone laughed. But of course my dad had voted for him, but Nixon carried Delaware (and evil George Wallace didn't do too bad either. I’m so glad we’re a blue state now!)

    I appreciate your disdain for bureaucrats and those at the DMV make me nervous, too.

    Keep blogging – you’re a natural!

  2. What a cute story! Thanks for sharing. "Disdain for bureaucrats ..." ha ha!