We were in New Jersey for what I truly believe is one of the greatest days to be an American, Election Day! My mother works with the board of elections and covered the polling location in one of the districts in Keyport. Her polling place was in one of the many great fire houses that cover Keyport.
Election Day morning, once the kids are up, dressed and fed, we headed over to the fire house to visit my mother while she is working (and so she can show off her grand kids to all her friends and citizens of Keyport who come in to vote).
My son was excited to see Abuela, but thought she was even cooler to see that she was surrounded by fire trucks. The fireman and volunteers at the polls immediately doted on my children, and the mayor of our town, also a volunteer fireman, gave the kids a tour of the fire truck, complete with a ring of the fire bell on the truck.
Then my son noticed all the voting machines (when my daughter tried to join a few people behind the curtain). I decided to use this as an educational opportunity and talk to my son about elections. I explained how as citizens we have the right to vote for our leaders. It quickly got very complicated as he had no concept of what was a mayor, governor, or even borders (He kept asking if we could go back to “Jersey”, which to him was synonymous with “Abeula’s House”). After a few “Why?”s, he stopped asking questions, and then I noticed him actively tune me out. Guess there is a reason I’m not a teacher…
Later on in the day we got a bonus lesson in first aid. After well meaning adults pumped up my kids full of sugar because “they are just so cute”, I took them to the nearby playground. There my daredevil daughter fell and split her lip open trying to follow her brother up a steep slide. Off we went to the firehouse/polling location where I knew there were volunteers to entertain my son while I delt with my screaming daughter. The volunteer first aid men hanging around determined she was fine and gave everyone more sugar as a reward.
Later in the evening, we stayed around as the polling location was closed. I never seen this happen before, so I was fascinated to watch how it all worked. I watched as the polling location was declared closed, and the voting machines were locked. The reports for each machine were run, and have to be transcribed to other sheets, then signed by each member at of the board of elections in attendance that evening. No exit polling is done in our small town, so results really aren’t known for local elections until 8pm. I was excited to get a sneak peak at the winners, but was then reminded that we only see the results for one district. In either case I was glad to see how our votes are counted and put in the database, ensuring our voice were heard. And that is what makes this country trully unique and a great place to live.