Polling places

Normal Rockwell's painting of voters lined up at a polling station
Norman Rockwell’s America. Is this what the MAGA people dream about going back to? Probably. Though Rockwell himself was “a staunch liberal and a strong believer in a progressive, inclusive America.”

Like so many other counties in Pennsylvania and across the country, we were upgraded to fully electronic machines ten years ago when everyone was saying they were the wave of the future. [NARRATOR: But they weren’t!] By next year, I’m told, they’ll all be replaced again, this time with something that preserves a paper trail. Me, I miss the old punch cards, and that extra bit of interaction with a poll worker when you handed over the completed ballot and she tore off the stub and handed it back to you, because the voter alone must drop the ballot in a box. There was a ceremonial, almost religious feeling to it. But then we were in a church. Not the sanctuary, you understand, but the room where they have church suppers. It felt homey, despite the fact that all the poll workers and most of the other voters in line were probably conservative Republicans and I’m on the far left.

polling station
of the cross

loving thy enemies

About the same time that we got the new machines, they moved our polling place to the middle school. You walk in and there’s someone sitting in the middle of the hall playing traffic cop and waving everyone through a door to the right. I smell the once-familiar smells and notice a funny feeling in my stomach.

back to my old school
but not in a nightmare

election day

We go as a family group but each votes alone… except for my mother, who always has trouble with the machine’s weird combination of analog and digital, the action of turning this, clicking that, and looking up there at the screen. A poll worker has to assist her from an arm’s length away.

voting machine

turning the wheel around
and around

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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