Monday, November 05, 2012

Early Voting at the Board of Elections

I voted this morning at the Board of Elections. This was the last day of early voting in Ohio, and the polls were open from 8AM until 2PM.

My wife and I arrived shortly after nine o’clock and the line outside the BOE building at the corner of Euclid and 30th was already around the corner and headed north about a quarter of the way towards Chester Ave. The line would grow at least half the block long before noon.

Voting at the Board is special. Many of the judicial hopefuls — I saw Cassandra Collier-Williams, Michael E. Jackson, and Cullen Sweeney — were outside greeting voters. The Rev. Jesse Jackson was there, speaking on the corner with local reporters but later inside, posing for pictures with voters and admirers.

The line was long but moved steadily. I marveled at how smoothly the process went, as the bilingual BOE employee produced my ballot for my precinct with hardly a delay. I then proceeded to an empty booth to express my views after months of listening to political ads, cable pontificators, and others.

The specialness of the occasion was in the communal expression of hundreds of people simultaneously and solemnly discharging their civic responsibility. It is a humbling and ennobling experience, an act of agency too seldom appearing in our community.

For many people moving through the line, it seemed a concerted rebuff to the insulting and outrageous claims made during what seemed a never-ending campaign, and a determined and clear response to those on a quest to suppress a significant portion of the electorate. The long lines of early voters, appearing daily for weeks, seemed like a resounding chorus of “NO YOU WON’T!”

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