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Friday, October 23, 2020

Flying voting

Early voting in Georgia started on October 12th. The lines to vote for that entire week were about a half-mile long. People were doing the best they could to social distance, but the heat and the sheer amount of people made that a huge task. 

Potential voters were told to bring personal accommodations such as chairs, snacks, and water. There were volunteers handing out water and snacks to those who did not get the memo or who perhaps had been in line so long that they ran out of snacks and things. 

I saw a lot of canes and walkers. People were out in full force. A friend of mine got in line at 5:30am and there were people who were there an hour before that. The polls did not open until 8. People were on a mission to vote. I do not know if most were worried that the mail would not deliver their ballots in time or if they wanted to be caught up in the excitement of this election. 

I was happy to see all of the people in line but saddened that some were in line for 8 hours. Some of my friends and I talked about going and making a day of it. Having a picnic in the line. That would make it less stressful and less like a task. Plus we would have great stories to tell people when this election was over. 

Instead, a friend and I voted on a Saturday afternoon. The line was not visible from the street. There was a tent to shield us from the sun. We have just eaten lunch and not in need of any sustenance. And we had time. I was a tiny bit worried that I may need a chair since we had already gotten in our 5 miles and my arthritic knee was making its presence known. 

We got in line anyway. We heard a few stories. Most of the people in line were teachers discussing the impact of COVID-19 on their schools and teaching strategies. There were complaints about this and that. No confrontations or angry words. We all watched a bit anxiously when a police officer told a woman that she needed to put on her mask. She didn't want to. She stated that. She looked around and when no one came to her aid she begrudgingly put it on. She had 'bad attitude' stamped all over her face. A few whispered that we knew who she was voting for. One should not assume, but I am sure we all did. 

Forty-five minutes and thirty-two seconds later my civic duty was done. I had voted. I had voted upfront and in person. I have the sticker to prove it. Fortunately, I encountered none of the issues I had been warned about. I had studied the ballot beforehand and had a few civil discussions with others as to what the amendments meant. I had researched the candidates at the local level. I was an informed voter.