I took the above photo as I was walking in to vote at today for the Texas Primary. There were many more people beyond the entrance behind the signs and advocates for their candidates. It was an active and bustling site to see and made me proud to be more engaged in politics.
I wanted to post a quick story about what happened once I got past the signs and supporters and got settled in line to wait my turn to vote.
I intentionally went at 11am in the hopes to avoid a long line. I did the same thing for the Presidential election in 2016 and was in and out in less than 10 minutes. Today was not that quick but luckily they had enough staff there to make the process go as quickly as possible without any major issues. I was about ten or so people back from the front of the line and all of the booths were full inside, so nothing to do but take in the scene before me as I waited.
They had two sections inside. One labeled “Republican Primary” and the other “Democratic Primary”. Both sides had essentially two intake tables with three people working each for a total of six volunteers. The Republican tables were constantly working and moving people as quickly as possible. So much so that they were creating two smaller lines of three once you got into the main room.
The Democratic tables were empty with six volunteers looking hungrily at the line.
A woman slowly got up, turned to her other volunteers and said something that I wasn’t able to hear but imagine it was something along the lines of “wish me luck!” considering what happened next.
She slowly approached the main line and spoke up, in an very non-confrontational voice, and said:
“If you are here to vote for the Democratic Primary, you don’t have to wait in this line. You can start a line over here and we’ll get you on your way! Not that I’m trying to advocate for one party or the other, folks.”
She politely smiled and worked her way down the rest of the line repeating herself for the rest of the voters. When I turned to watch her I saw the line had grown significantly since I arrived and was now out the door into the foyer probably exceeding 50 people. As I turned back I looked at the gentleman behind me and said, “Looks like we got here at the right time and beat the rush!“. We both chuckled and I faced forward.
A few seconds later the volunteer had returned from the end of the line bringing the Democratic voters to the front so they can get them processed and on their way. The six volunteers quickly jumped into action and started taking IDs, grabbing the electronic voting cards and handing them out and explaining the process all while checking the voting booths for one to become available for their voters to go do their thing.
All of the Democratic voters now stood and waited patiently for a booth to open – all four of them.
I couldn’t help but smile to myself and chuckle. Those four voters were being treated like royalty by those six volunteers! It was at that point I realized that the line the Democrats were in was on the right side of the room and the line I was in for Republican was on the left side of the room. I turned back to the gentleman behind me and said:
“You would think our line would be on the right side of the room. You think they are messing with us or something?!?”
That got a much heartier laugh from not only him but a few others behind him with everyone nodding in agreement.
It was about this time that I heard the gentleman behind the table call to me to show my ID and get my electronic card as well. I happily obliged, waited for a booth to open, voted and made my way outside and back through the line of candidate advocates outside. I was thanked by multiple people from both political parties for coming out to vote and was wished a pleasant rest of my day, to which I replied in kind.
It’s Texas – we’re polite like that.
Though the process took longer it was not painful. I was happy to see a strong turn out for my party as well, given all the press over the past few days of how early voting tallies were +47k for the Democratic party as of a few days ago. Then again, I should really take polling with a few more grains of salt considering how wrong they were in 2016.
Now get out there and VOTE! I hope to hear your stories when you do.