I can't believe it's finally here. Election Day. It has been a long time coming. As everyone has noted all over the board, it's been a tense election cycle. It is difficult for me to understand how people can not be filled with the anticipation let alone remain undecided. This really does feel like the most important election of my lifetime.
This morning I cast my vote for Barack Obama. I also cast votes for Mark Begich for senate and Ethan Berkowitz for Congress. It truly is time for a change, I just hope the majority of Alaskans feel that way too (at least in regards to the senatorial and congressional races, since I'm bound to still be in a minority here for the presidential race.)
My voting experience was not without a hiccough though. There wasn't a line at my polling place this morning but, a poll worker did try to disenfranchise me! I live in a transitional neighborhood, in one of the lower income, and minority dense parts of town. I can't help but feel that is related, given that I've never had such issues at other polling places when I lived in more affluent parts of town.
The poll worker first demanded a picture ID from the woman in front of me, then stared at it for quite a while...he was really scrutinizing it, for what I couldn't tell. Eventually he turned the register to her and let her sign without saying much. When I handed him my voter ID card he asked for picture ID. I told him that it was illegal to require picture ID, all that was required was a signed ID, and that my signed voter ID was sufficient to fulfill that requirement. I continued that I would be happy to give him my driver's license anyway, but that he couldn't legally require picture ID from anyone.
He stared at my license for a full minute and then asked me "Just where exactly is Bates Circle?" even though I could see my name on the register in front of him.
I told him that it was in South Anchorage, but that didn't matter, because I lived right across the street and my name was on the register right in front of him which meant I had a legal right to vote there.
He then said to me "Well, I'm gonna give you a questioned ballot since these don't match" At which point I told him in no uncertain terms that he was not going to do that. I pointed to my name was very clearly listed on the register right in front of him, explained to him that I had produced not one but two pieces of appropriate ID and that it was my legal right to vote a regular ballot there at that location as indicated by the presence of my name on his register.
Thankfully, the other poll worker interjected and told him that I was 100% correct. I thanked her, and asked her that she please go over the rules with this man while they had a down moment so that a voter less informed than me wouldn't lose their rights because the gentleman working the table didn't understand the rules either.
Nonetheless, I'm filled with such a feeling of excitement and nerves. I can't believe this day is finally here. I'm scared to feel so hopeful, given how painfully the previous two elections were stolen from us, but I feel an overwhelming sense of hope none the less. This is my third presidential election, and for the first time I feel confident that I have cast my vote for the winner. That feels especially good given how much this man inspires me, and thousands of others. Party at our house on inauguration day!