SOUTH FLORIDA, November 4, 2012 ― The call came in from the Romney campaign team in Palm Beach County, Florida. An elderly woman named Constance wanted to vote, and she needed a driver. My name was accurately listed as a volunteer driver. Constance lives alone, and uses a walker to get around. Her absentee ballot did not arrive in time, and she was determined to vote. She lives in Boca Raton, about 15 minutes from my central command location (also known as mom and pop’s house with a nice big refrigerator).
While there will be plenty of horror stories about voting, some real and some manufactured, but this story for the most is about the best of America. We put her walker in the back seat of the car, and were off to the polls. When we arrived, we were told that the wait would be three or four hours. I could have left and picked her up later, but leaving an elderly woman in the hot sun was not an acceptable plan. Luckily the majority of people in that line were very good human beings.
Several people let us know the quickest path to concrete so she would not have to navigate her walker around uneven grass. Upon making it to the concrete, we were immediately greeted by one of many friendly, professional poll workers.
The poll worker explained to us that he understood the dynamics of making an elderly woman stand all day in the hot Florida sun. He gave Constance a “ticket” similar to one used when doing raffles. The other half of the ticket was given to the very last person in the line. That way Constance could be wheeled indoors and sit in a waiting room away from the heat. When the person holding the ticket reached inside hours later, it would be her turn as well. That way fairness could be preserved. Then something changed when we brought Constance inside.
Another poll worker was explaining to about twenty people what the rules were. The rules would be enforced. Everybody was genial and respectful, and agreed. When she saw Constance, the poll worker asked all twenty people a simple question. Would anybody mind if this elderly woman was allowed to just vote without waiting for hours? Everybody quickly agreed. To see such respect for our elders was reassuring. While it may not seem “fair” that she was allowed to go ahead, at some point human compassion should matter. Thankfully in Boca Raton, it does.
(That same poll worker playfully pretended to punch me when I asked if she was staying five weeks after the election to count hanging or pregnant chads.)
We entered the room, and there were plenty of poll workers. There were people of all races and creeds who were receiving careful instruction about what was allowable and what wasn’t. Every single person was respectful. When we entered the poll room, the poll workers were informed that I was just a driver who had already voted, and wanted to help Constance vote. There were poll stations for people who were right-handed and separate ones for left-handed people. There were even chairs so people like Constance could sit down when filling out the ballot. The poll workers explained to her how the procedures worked. Once Constance was given her ballot, it was against the rules for me to speak to her in any way. This was to protect against undue influence. I could stand right next to her silently.
Constance was organized, and had already filled out her sample ballot. All she had to do was copy the information. This took awhile, but she did it. Then we walked her over to a scanner. Only she was allowed to feed the scanner. She was then given her “I voted” sticker, and we walked her out.
Another woman with a walker was having trouble finding her daughter. We took a couple minutes to help her with that.
Outside in the parking lot there were campaign workers trying to rally people to their candidates. Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff and Democrat Maria Sachs (I prefer Bogdanoff) were approaching people. Once we told them we had already voted, they instantly backed off. The rival campaign workers were often standing next to each other, in some cases laughing and joking. Supporters of Republican Adam Hasner were also there. Yet all of these people were contained in the parking lot area. None of them were allowed inside anywhere near the polling apparatus, and they all obeyed the rules.
One young girl who came across as a “featherhead” sidled up to us and tried to talk to us. We told her we already voted. She asked for whom, and I informed her that this was private. Constance said she voted for “the better man.” The young girl did not get the hint, and there was zero surprise when she said “I voted for Obama.” At that point Constance said that she voted for Romney. Before the young girl could say any more, I said “no fighting today. You both love America and you voted.” The girl responded by saying “I’m going to the beach.” If ever the Romney campaign needed a “typical Obama voter” to reflect why America is in trouble, this was it.
Yet even this girl deserves some credit, as does everyone else involved with this process.
Many people stood in line for hours because they care enough about America to vote. Despite having to wait in line, people still showed compassion for an elderly woman to reduce her burden. While there will be voter fraud in many places, it seems that City Hall in Boca Raton is a model of good government.
My motives were partisan. As a Republican, helping Republicans get to the polls matters to me. Early voting in Florida ends Saturday night. Sunday is a rally with Rudy Giuliani and Norm Coleman followed by football. Monday evening I speak in the famous retirement community “The Villages” and rally the faithful. Yet Tuesday it is back to being the conservative Republican version of Morgan Freeman in driving Miss Daisy. Anybody voting in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties who needs a ride has one. Supporters of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Adam Hasner, Colonel Allen West, and other Republicans have transportation.
Yet once the people are already at the polls, red or blue is substituted for red, white, and blue. To see so many people treat each other in such a kind manner gave me a glimmer of hope that no matter what the outcome, everyone but the most hateful partisans truly will come together and respect the results.
Saturday was a victory for democracy, American pride, and the human condition.
With the help of plenty of people, Constance was able to vote.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”
Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. Follow Eric on Twitter @TYGRRRREXPRESS
Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at TYGRRRR EXPRESS
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