Categorized | Rotto_Gary, San Diego County, USA

Tuesday was her first chance to vote

By Gary Rotto

Gary Rotto

Gary Rotto

SAN DIEGO — Election Day.  For me, it’s like Hanukah or Christmas in June. It’s a day of anticipation and excitement. It’s a day to celebrate.

This Primary Day was one of added anticipation as my daughter was eligible to vote for the first time.

Even before she turned 18 last Fall, she was looking forward to June 7th.  That’s because last August, she volunteered at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser in La Jolla. The event, the experience, the remarks of the former Secretary of State confirmed her desire to vote.  Since then, the countdown to the California Primary election has held great significance for Kelila.  It helps that she is attending college in Washington, DC where talk of the election, really every minute detail of the election, surrounds you.

We carried her sample ballot to Seacrest Village on Friday so that after Shabbat dinner, the three of us – my daughter, my mom and I – could review the ballot.  We talked about a few of the races with my mom, but the ballot in every locale has variations. So on Monday night, my daughter and I reviewed the remaining races and ballot initiatives that pertain to our area.  Several names were familiar, like Susan Davis and Toni Atkins. Others were not. “There’s another Democrat running for Congress?” asked Kelila. “Why would another Democrat run against her?” she continued rather incredulously.

She discovered the candidate statements that are included in the sample ballot.  Dutifully reviewing each, she asked about several candidates. And she found the arguments for and against the local and state initiatives.  She asked about the work of County Central Committee and recognized the name of one of the candidates, my friends, Colin Parent. The Election Eve review is complete.

Election Day arrives and we prepare to leave to go vote. “Can I bring my ballot with me?  Do they allow you to bring things to the poll?”  I reply that she can bring anything she would like as long as she is not campaigning or outwardly displaying support for a candidate.

We arrived at the polling place and it’s then that I wonder why the registrar does not provide special stickers for first time voters. It’s a small thing that can inspire even greater pride in voting.  She signed in, received a ballot and selected a kiosk in which to fill out her ballot.   Soon, the ballot in complete and she has checked to make sure that each and every bubble is completely filled in for each of her selections.  She handed in her ballot and watched as the poll worker slid it into the ballot box. And she received her “I Voted” sticker. Not only for a young voter, but for many voters, that sticker is a source of pride. And now my daughter shares in that pride.

That evening, we stopped by Election Central at Golden Hall. We greeted a few of friends, some of my former colleagues whom I worked with at the County of San Diego, and stopped to talk with Laurie Black.  Together we kvelled that our daughters have voted for the first time.  And it is not insignificant that they are able to vote for an accomplished woman for president.  For many millenials, the fact that women are regarded as equals for any office, including the highest in the land, is something that they grew up with.  If they are a Californians, they have probably been represented by two women in the US Senate from the day they were born. But we sensed that our daughters recognized the history about to unfold on their  first election day.

Later, with the “I Voted” sticker and the ballot stub tucked away as mementos from the first time she exercised her right to vote, we awaited the final results of Tuesday’s elections. And she has already asked about how to receive an absentee ballot while away at school so that her voice can be heard again on November 8th.

Rotto is a freelance writer with an interest in government and politics.  He may be contacted via [email protected].  Comments intended for publication in the space below MUST be accompanied by the letter writer’s first and last name and by his/ her city and state of residence (city and country for those outside the United States.)







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