As I submit this column on Friday morning, I have just been to vote.
I can’t remember the last time I voted on an official election day. Early voting has been a gift to us.
For me, it’s psychological. Once I have voted, I feel I have permission to mute every campaign commercial that airs. I can do that before I vote, of course, but somehow it seems to have a different effect when I have already cast my ballot. (And by the way, the commercials have been worse than ever for this election and candidates who
approved them should be ashamed of themselves).
My wife had told me she had been to the library in Brentwood to vote earlier in the week and the line was way out the door. She took a pass on the first time she went and went back the next day.
I decided my strategy would be to go to my usual morning workout at the Brentwood Y, then be among the first in line for voting a stone’s throw away at the library.
With all humility, I am pleased to report I was the first in line. Not that I’m competitive or anything, but when I drove up at 7:35, nobody was standing in line so I sat in my car. When a few more folks drove into the parking lot, I went ahead and staked out my place. And just so you are clear, I was first, standing at the door at 7:45.
At 7:46, a man and a lady took their places behind me. This was after the lady tried to open the door that had a large sign on it that read, “Polls Open at 8 a.m.,” and seemed surprised when it was locked.
I guess she had a busy day ahead of her. She asked me what time it was. When I told her, she said she was trying to decide if she would stay or not.
I politely told her there had been reports of long lines all week and, were she to return later, she would likely wait in line at least 14 minutes (the time remaining before voting began), so it might be in her best interest to stay and get it done.
I realize that was none of my business, but since she asked me for the time, I thought it was OK to make an editorial comment. And based on my advice, she remained, third in line.
At 7:58 a.m., by which time there were about two dozen folks behind me (did I tell you I was first?), a nice gentleman opened the door, and a nice enough lady invited us in. I say “nice enough” because while she was smiling pleasantly, she told me rather firmly to go stand by an orange cone that stood a few feet away from the table where voters show their IDs and sign required documentation.
As line leader, I took my responsibility seriously and did what she said, with those behind me dutifully following. After standing at the orange cone for about five seconds, a smiling lady, sitting at the table, motioned for me to come to her station.
The lady who had given the initial instructions to me, however, now standing on the other side of the room, apparently saw me from the corner of her eye. She rushed over and said pointedly, “I said to stand by the cone. It is 7:58 and voting has not started.” She told me to go back to where I had been standing.
While I did not care to get into a thing with her, I felt I had to tell her the lady at the table had motioned for me to come over. I was not just taking matters in my own hands and plowing my way through.
The lady at the table kind of raised her eyebrows and shrugged, not giving me much support.
And the lady who was obviously in charge was having none of my backtalk. Back to my perch by the orange cone I went.
A minute later when the clock had apparently struck eight, I was again summoned to the table. The nice lady told me she was sorry she had gotten me in trouble and I assured her it was not the first time in my life.
Everything else proceeded smoothly.
I have voted and with smug satisfaction I will now mute the awful commercials. I don’t have to listen to them anymore.
Early voting ends Thursday, November 1. Even if you have to wait in line a while, please go vote. Word is we’re breaking records for turnout here in Williamson County and that can’t be anything but good.
I highly recommend getting there early. Follow instructions (stand by that cone until you’re told to move) and you’ll be in and out quickly.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.