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John Mercure: Mercurey Rising

Election Day

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It is finally here.  Election Day.  It feels like we have been building to this for forever.

I voted this morning on my way into work.  I had two very interesting things happen to me at the polling place.  One made me very proud.  The other left me dumbfounded.

I walked up to the poll worker table and gave them my name.  They flipped to my name in the big book for my ward, turned it around and asked me to sign it.  As I did, I saw that my wife had already voted and each of my two college age girls had successfully cast absentee ballots and they had been counted. It made me so proud to see that my two girls voted.  They are both at out of state colleges and went through the absentee voter process.  They said it was easy and painless.  It's their first presidential Election. I'm proud that they did what young ladies in many countries can't do.

Now to the incident that left me a little dumbfounded. I received my ballot and headed to the little booth.  As I began to fill out my ballot, I could feel that someone was staring at me. I glanced to my left and there was a little old lady trying to get my attention.

"Can you help me?" she asked. "I've never voted and I don't know how to do this."

I wasn't sure what to do.  "I think the volunteers at the front can help you," I offered. 

"Oh, I'm not going back to that line," she replied.  "If you can't help me, I just won't vote.  It's really not that big a deal."

I couldn't let that happen. She was already standing in my booth with me.  I just quickly showed her how to connect the parts of the arrow.  It was short.  Over in three seconds.

Just as I was finishing up, a man with a big "Election Observer" badge spoke at me. "What are you doing?"

"I'm showing this woman how the ballot works," I answered.

"You're not allowed to do that!" he barked.  He was getting loud.  People were now looking at all three of us.

"I was just..." I uttered.

"You were just doing something you shouldn't have been doing," he answered.

"Leave the young man alone," the elderly woman chimed in.  "He was just trying to help me figure this out."

With that, the poll observer turned and left.  I voted. The elderly woman voted. And that was that.  Not another word was spoken between us.

My take?  It was an observer who took the day off to observe and he felt he had to justify his presence.  Give me a break!


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