Yesterday was the first time I voted.
In person, that is.
While I was in school in Baltimore, I was still registered in Pennsylvania, so I dutifully filled out my absentee ballot in 2004. I dropped the ball in 2006, but then in 2008 I went absentee again. I was living in DC at the time, but hadn’t gotten around to changing my voter registration. (Plus, if we’re being honest, I felt like my vote counted more in Pennsylvania.)
But anyway. I’m all registered here now, so last night I took myself over to the polling center for my first live voting experience.
And I think I prefer the absentee ballots.
The line wasn’t absurdly long or anything, and chaos is too strong a word, but I didn’t feel like the experience was great for first timers. The volunteers were too busy to take my questions and vaguely pointed me off in one direction or another if I did manage to get a word in.
Now, I clearly have nothing to compare this to. I don’t know if it’s just DC, just my polling place, or just the nature of voting in general. And so, for order’s sake, like I mentioned, I do prefer the absentee ballot.
BUT walking away, knowing that I had cast my vote, knowing that it would be counted, seeing other voters and recognizing that we were all a part of this (and finally getting a sticker) was accompanied by a feeling that I’d never really gotten from just sending off an envelope.
As a side question, I’m curious about your take on post-voting etiquette. Do you think it’s appropriate to ask friends and family members who they voted for? Or is it more of a personal thing, like salary-talk? And does that etiquette change depending on what city you’re in?
Just a thought.