I voted this morning and saw the longest lines I can remember. Plenty of voters looked nervous, not quite sure what the procedures were, or even if they were in the right place. But everyone, nervous or not, looked purposeful. The room buzzed with energy. You didn’t have to know anything about this election to know that something important was happening here.
I’ve voted in a lot of elections since I turned 18, but never one quite like this. I was lucky enough to be in and out in about fifteen minutes, but I put in an extra hour making phone calls for Get Out the Vote efforts, making sure people knew their polling places and had rides. And what I’ve done is nothing compared to what others are doing: walking from house to house to make sure people know where to vote, working all day at the polls, or standing for hours and hours just to cast a ballot. It’s an extraordinary time to be alive.
I read today that we may well break a century-old record for voter participation, set when Taft was elected President. The sad part, of course, is that we’ll get there if only two-thirds of all eligible voters turn up. Most of the time, participation falls far short of even that low bar. Surely we can do better than that.
All day I’ve been thinking about the people who sacrificed and suffered and fought and even died so that I could stand up today and vote my conscience. People like Crispus Attucks, who fell in the Boston Massacre, and Lucy Burns, suffragette and hunger-striker… and millions more.
Stand up and be counted today. Make sure you vote.