From the Friends: Vote

Posted Jul 27, 2018

What do I think of when I stand in line to vote?

Inside a Grange Hall in rural Connecticut, I cast my first vote. It was my introduction to the sensible, clear-eyed helpers who check your ID, tell you where to sign your name, and guide you to the booth. I remember vividly the excitement and pride I felt as I fulfilled my civic responsibility. At long last, I was a participant in our democracy.

The P.S. 8 polling place in Brooklyn overflowed with urban voters of every stripe and age. Walking there, voters passed fragrant pizzerias and busy bodegas. I remember standing in line for a very long time. Voters brought their children with them. Multiple languages were exchanged. It was loud and friendly.

At the community center in downtown Baltimore, political signs boldly declared the polling place. The voting booths were barely private. It was nighttime and yet still busy. People were patient, speaking in hushed tones. Monkey business was not tolerated; children were shushed.

In Oakland, the Women’s Club seemed too fancy to be a designated polling place. Every detail combined to confuse: bushes bloomed in November, large floral oil paintings were lit with small brass lamps. The voting booths stood on terra cotta floors. 

In rural North Carolina, we voted inside a fire station. The voting booths competed for space with gleaming trucks and gear. Volunteer fireman call lists and schedules hung on the wall. Why we voted was not in question.

In upstate New York, police manned the parking lot, two-way streets had become one-way for the occasion. It was after school but the cafeteria still smelled like lunch. The voters' children frolicked on the playground, calling each other’s names.

Now I vote in a quiet church basement near a Great Lake, on the East Side of Milwaukee. There are few signs, fewer political placards, and complicated voting rules. Thankfully, those nice, clear-eyed helpers are here to guide me.

We are these places. We are these people. This is who we are. This is the fabric of America. And we have one thing in common, one thing that binds us together: our responsibility to participate in our democracy— to preserve and protect that which defines us as a nation.

Exercise your right to vote in the Wisconsin partisan primaries in August.

Time: 08/14/2018 - 7:00am - 8:00pm

Location: Statewide

Partisan Primary for the November 6, 2018 General Election. Offices on the ballot are Governor, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, odd-numbered Wisconsin State Senate seats, and all Wisconsin Assembly seats.

You can see what's on your ballot and find your polling place at My Vote WI:

If you need help finding your polling place or learning what is on your ballot, visit the Shorewood Public Library to use a computer, the Internet, or get help from a librarian. If you need to register to vote and live in Shorewood, visit Shorewood Clerk’s Office at Village Hall, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Complete information can be found here:

Take your children with you—they will remember it and vote!

- Submitted by Candace Shoemaker

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