Mother and Daughter Learn an Important Lesson About Voting
by Christine Lorraine Morgan ~ Originally written for the Yahoo Contributor Network on Jan. 18, 2010
“Can I go with you to vote?” asked Nicole, my 15-year-old daughter.
Without hesitating, I agreed that she could tag along. “Sure. After all, you’ll be able to vote soon, and I’m always glad to help you learn how our government works.”
Smiling smugly at my daughter’s willingness to expand her political horizons, I drove to the fire hall, signed in, and proudly allowed Nicole to escort me into the computerized voting booth.
She observed my candidate selections without saying much. After completing all of the more prominent races, a screen asked who I wanted to pick for some lesser-known race, but did not list any candidates. The only offering was “write-in.”
“Mom, what does that mean?”
“It means that no one is running for this position, and I can write in a vote for someone,” I explained patiently.
“How do you write someone in?” As always, Nicole wanted answers.
Uncertain of how to proceed, yet unwilling to admit this flagrant fact, I replied, “You just press here.” Luckily, I was right. After pressing the touch screen, another screen appeared that let me enter a potential candidate’s name.
As I pondered what to do next, Nicole interrupted my thoughts and gave me a predictable direction.
“Hey Mom, why don’t you write yourself in?” she asked sweetly.
Without giving the matter further consideration, I keyed in my name and pressed “vote.”
“There, honey. Are you happy? I just voted for myself.”
We giggled as we exited the booth, and Nicole was a bit giddy at the notion that her mother had just made herself a candidate in a most unexpected fashion.
Weeks passed, and one gray, snowy December afternoon a curious letter arrived in the mail. It was from the local Board of Elections, and it declared that I was tied with three other candidates for some odd post that I had not heard of before, “Inspector of Elections – Majority.”
I nearly laughed out loud, and my peculiar reaction prompted my partner’s curiosity. “What’s so funny,” he quizzed.
I handed him the letter, and he became excited. “How did you do this?” He seemed bewildered. “This is really cool, how did you manage to tie three other candidates for public office? I didn’t even know you were running!”
“I wasn’t, I was just trying to show Nicole how our free society’s voting system works, and I think I might have accidentally written myself in or something…”
The following week, the county conducted a “tie-breaker” for all local elections. Because there were four candidates all tied with one write-in vote for this particular post, the county placed four numbered ping pong balls in a box. The lowest numbered ball would be the winner.
Believe it or not, the lowest number was pulled on my behalf, and before I knew what had happened, I won the election.
As of this writing, I still don’t really know what my governmental position entails. The county has notified me that instructions for training will come soon. There might even be a few bucks involved. However, that’s not the point of this exercise. The fact that I have a governmental position as an elected official is still boggling my mind.
It all boils down to the fact that in our free society, anyone can truly have a chance to achieve something they never thought possible. Whether they even try or not.
To top off the political cake, I am beginning to have visions of my next election. My neighbor across the street has laughingly warned that she intends to run against me, but I’m pretty sure I can get a handful of neighborhood pals to vote my way and win with five or six votes instead of the one that sealed the deal last year.
Author Christine Lorraine Morgan poses at the precinct where she enjoyed serving as Majority Inspector of Elections for four years after inadvertently electing herself with a write-in vote.
Besides, it truly only takes one unsuspecting vote to win an election in these great United States. This is a 100% true story, so remember it the next time you think your vote does not count, because it really does.