Louie and I casted our ballots yesterday for the General Election and could not have been prouder to slap the sticker on our shirts after leaving the Los Angeles Arboretum voting center in Arcadia, five minutes’ drive from our home. It had just opened that morning for early voting.
We arrived at about 4pm, hoping it would not be crowded because it was the first day. Lucky us, there was no line. “You should have seen it this morning,” a young male volunteer had told us. “The line went all the way out to the parking lot!”
And it thrilled me to see young people outfitted with face masks and shields staffing the arrival desk where my temperature was taken.
We had originally intended to place our mail-in ballots in the Drop Box at our city hall. But the more we thought about it, we needed more assurance that our ballots would not get lost in transit. The decision was made when I messed up filling out my mail-in ballot at home. I started using a black marker that seeped through the page to the other side. I quickly changed to a ball point pen. This forced our trip to the polling place to see if my ballot might be invalidated.
“It’s possible there won’t be a problem, but there’s no guarantee,” the supervisor told me. “If you would like, you can surrender your mail-in ballot and cast a new one here.” I didn’t hesitate.
As a young Latina woman handed me my blank ballot sheet, I told her it was great to see so many young volunteers – the most I have ever seen in my years of voting. “Our teacher said that if we volunteer, we won’t have to take the class final exam!”
Kudos to that teacher who found a way to get students involved in the election process -- the next generation of much-needed tech-savvy volunteers to help voters navigate the new state-of-the-art digital voting system that’s easy to use with friendly and helpful monitors standing ready to help with questions. When I completed my voting, the blank sheet I had inserted into the computer was spewed out showing how I casted each vote – and requested my confirmation that all was correct before I reinserted the sheet back in to officially cast my ballot.
While the Drop Box is a convenient and attractive option for Covid times, I’m thrilled that we were forced to go to the polling place where we witnessed a safe and efficient system run by enthusiastic volunteers.
And during dinner yesterday, to my surprise, I received a text from the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters:
“Our records indicate you voted in person at a voting location. Your ballot for the 2020 General Election was received and will be counted. Thank you for voting!”
Music to my ears.
Washing Hands + Wearing a Mask + Social Distancing = Saving Lives