What’s Your Plan to Vote?

October is in full swing and now is the time to make a plan to vote. I’ll never forget the year I moved to a new city where the county election commission was riddled with technical difficulties. The problem was so widespread and detrimental to voter morale, it made national headlines. People waited hours in line, myself included. My three little kids were with me as I stood in the elementary school hallway until it was my turn.

This is what happens when you don’t make a plan.

For the 2020 election, I have a plan: I will vote in person because I love the shared experience with my neighbors. For me, this emotional boost of gathering with others who value civic duty is worth the risk of long lines. I am fortunate to live close enough to take a short walk to my precinct. And this time, I will leave the kids at home with a sitter.

But you don’t have to wait (or walk) to vote. Plan your vote today. Make sure your voice is heard. In the meantime, this poem was inspired by the year I had no plan.

Ballot

That year I stood in line

for 3 hours with 3 kids.

I lectured them 

like a televangelist

on voting rights

and American history,

how non-white, non-men

were denied the right

to participate in civil

circles, people died.

And if time in line 

was my earthly cross 

to bear for suffrage

in our amended present,

I would drag a slab of wood

until all the lights went dark,

until every door was locked.

Then I would hammer my fist 

until it dripped with blood

and poll workers let me fill

all the ovals in my ballot.

But gravitas was lost 

on them, their ears

plugged with hunger

their short legs tired

from standing for so long.