Today was Election Day in the United States. Although it seemed there was little chatter or press about it. I guess because it wasn’t a Presidential election it didn’t merit much attention. For my precinct, there were no candidates to be elected, only proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution.
In the TexasT house, we take voting quite seriously. We try to impress upon the boys that it is a privilege denied to many. And unfortunately, a privilege squandered by even more.
This morning’s Civics lesson began when I pulled up a today’s Sample Ballot. I read each proposed amendment aloud, translated it from legalese into something a 9 & 11 year old could understand, and then we discussed. I didn’t give my opinion until after each of them had “voted.” There were a couple of times when my decision was contrary to theirs. I let them know that I voted differently and then gave the reason behind my decision.
When the time came we headed to the polls, which happens to be in the library of a local elementary school. As homeschoolers, my kids are always fascinated to see the inside of a “real” school building, so there was even more excitement about voting today. Upon entering the library we were greeted by three poll workers, who were looking desperate for something to do. After I showed my identification, they located me in “the book” and proceeded to get me set up on the electronic voting machine. With the boys watching, I clicked through the system and cast my ballot.
When I was finished, I asked the workers how many people had been in to vote today. “Including you, there have been 19.” (Ouch, only 19.) There are thousands of residents in my precinct. While I’m sure there were several who did early voting, I still found that number to be profoundly low. The gentleman working the polls told me that a 2% voter turnout was considered “good.” (Again, ouch.) He then showed us where they post the number of voters outside, and invited us to return so we could check the numbers throughout the day.
This evening Woody asked if we could go back and look at the posting. We did.
At the last given time on the sheet, 67 people in my precinct had voted. On the way home an odd silence filled the car. Then Woody asked, “Mom, why won’t people go vote? Don’t they realize how important it is?”
I answered, “I don’t know, son. I don’t know.”
But, the fact that he asks the question makes me feel like he’s learned the most important lesson of the day.