Saturday, September 6, 2014

right to vote - a story from my life

i grew up in a family that regularly discussed political issues - dinner conversation was often turned toward politics.  i was fascinated with the government of the United States and the whole system of politics, political parties and the right to vote.  in seventh grade, my friend debbie heath and i decided to get involved in the political system and joined young Republicans of America.  we were the only "young" members who attended the meetings, but despite our age and obvious immaturity, we were allowed to participate.
"Warrior bride"
ink on vintage sheet music

since that time, i have always considered my right to vote a privilege and try to be informed on the candidates and policies that are on the agenda.  

i had always cast my vote every election up until the election 
between Barack Obama and John McCain.

the night of the election for President i went to vote.  there were many people waiting for their turn to go into the booth and vote.  there were people from all over the world - some of them being naturalized citizens waiting to vote.  the person with whom i had gone to the school to vote had become a naturalized citizen years before.  we both stepped up to the table to sign in before going into the booth.  he showed his drivers license and went into vote.  i showed my drivers license and was told there was a problem with me voting and i needed to wait while they made some phone calls.  i stood in front of the table, with my heart pounding and a million thoughts racing through my head, while many people were checked in and let through the other lines to vote.  finally the answer came back.  i would not be allowed to vote because my citizenship was in question.  i was incredulous and voiced my concerns.

with no other explanation given, i was asked to go out to the lobby.

emotions rushed in a torrent and tears came - - my right to vote had been violated and for the first time since i was old enough to vote i could not participate in a Presidential election.

the person, with whom i had gone to the school to vote, thought the whole incident was funny.  he was a naturalized citizen from a country not favorable to the United States and was allowed to vote.  i was a person born in the United States and was not allowed to vote.  i didn't find it funny but devastating.

on arriving home that evening, i immediately wrote the registrar and tried to find out the reason this had happened.  i was never given a reason for the incident.  months later i was told that my citizenship was no longer in question.

by the way, in case you ever experience this, you are supposed to be allowed to cast your vote and it will be held while the registrar does further investigation.  

before this time,  i had taken my right to vote for granted.  the whole experience made me more aware that my right to vote was precious - - but it was not guaranteed.  

anyone who has lived awhile has experienced an unfair or an unjust situation.  how do we handle these times?  do we continue to bleed for months - years - a life-time, or do we allow God to heal our life wounds so we can in turn help others heal?  

1 comment:

  1. You are right! You should have been given a provisional ballot!