9 November 2016

It’s the small details that stick with you

I worked the election all day, starting at 5:45am so everything could be ready by 7am.

Just before the polls closed at 7pm, a Latina woman and her elderly mother came in. One of them had no suitable ID, and we couldn’t legally let her vote. The other had a folded and crumpled voter registration, years old, and enough ID that we could process her and let her vote. She had never used the voting machines, doubtless hadn’t voted in many years. When she called for help, I went over to show her how to use the machine. As I explained how to go scroll the cursor through all the choices, she said she just wanted to vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, that was all. I told her how to page past everything else and cast her ballot.

Once the polls had closed we packed everything away, stored the vote collecting machine in tamper-evident bags inside a locked case, printed the reports, and delivered it all to the county voting headquarters. We got home around 9:30pm, and I crashed into bed. I deliberately avoided looking at the news, or even giving Google an opportunity to helpfully tell me anything about what was going on, because I desperately needed to be able to sleep. I fell asleep with my head full of echoes of voices asking questions about voting procedures.

Now this morning I can’t stop thinking about those two Latina women and their family and friends. I did what I could, I wish it had been enough.

© mathew 2017