Today, we voted.
After years of living in the city (or, in Aaron’s case, serving abroad) – voting in the 2020 presidential election took an insanely different turn for us this year. Not only was the race pretty notable in and of itself – but we both, for the first time ever, voted in rural Jefferson County, Kansas.
I left my hometown for college before the first election in which I could vote – so I never actually had the chance to vote here before. My previous polling places have only included the community center that sat behind my small house in Roeland Park, Kansas, and the massive halls of Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, where I cast my first absentee votes a few years back. Particularly in Roeland Park – I simply walked down the street to cast my vote.
Our polling place this year was the seriously beautiful Sarcoxie Township South Fire Station about 10 minutes from our farm. What caught me as interesting was that – unlike my previous polling places – the fire station swims among the fields about 3 miles down a gravel road. The only signs we saw along the way were the ones pointing directions to the voting place. No protestors at a distance. No long lines. No gaudy yard signs. It was honestly peaceful.
We greeted a handful of neighbors with a quick “hello” while we unloaded Isai. I was beyond thrilled he was able to go with us for this. I never remember my parents casting their votes. I do remember voting for Ross Perot in the school-wide mock election back in 1992. I was in Kindergarten and am honestly still extremely proud that Perot was my selection. But – I don’t remember voting being a thing I just had to be a part of. I really want for our kids to understand the process and the impact. I want them to crave the opportunity to be part of it all. And that really starts with seeing it happen.
So, with a baby on my hip, I put on my mask, rubbed my hands with sanitizer, checked in, claimed my pen and completed my ballot. Isai squawked with agreement at my superior selections the entire time. It was awesome.
Aaron did the same in the booth next to us.
The room was simple. A couple of tables with clear plastic barriers protected the poll workers. Once we had ballots, we walked to the center of the room to sit at a table with a blinder shield sitting on it. After that, our whole family walked to the counting machine to deposit our votes.
The monumental occasion felt so casual in the scheme of things. We were in and out in a flash. We’d over-planned for waiting in line, distracting the kid and the usual series of what-ifs. None of which were needed.
In complete contradiction to what my friends were experiencing in the city – our voting experience was entirely laid back. Even our selfies were weirdly void of the usual beige stone building and asphalt backdrop. Instead, polling flags and dry Fall fields.
It was the same incredible high and pride of voting in other elections – but was also so new to us at the same time. I still am simply overwhelmed that one day I’ll be able to tell Isai he voted on my lap. His voice – loud and rather incoherrent – was part of this.