About 80 people, some with coffee cups or kids in hand, stood waiting minutes before the polls opened today at Valentine Hills Elementary School in Arden Hills, I among them. Neighbors called out friendly greetings to one another and smiled, though often knowing their votes would cancel out one another.
More than ever this election, I felt a bit player in my nation’s history, an excitement about exercising the American right to vote down gender or racial barriers, an emotion shared by those in line with me.
“This is the earliest I’ve been up all semester,’’ said 21-year-old Bethel University student Jordan McIver from Blaine, hyped to cast his first vote in a presidential race.
“I haven’t stood in line this early since I got up at 3 a.m. to buy a Wii for my son a couple of Christmases ago ,” responded my friend Jan Bergman, laughing.
At the stroke of 7, election officials opened the doors and voters began signing in or registering, then heading to a table to pick up their ballots, before waiting briefly to vote. The process was quick, with eight voting booths plus four spaces at a school cafeteria table for any who wouldn’t mind the lack of privacy to pen in their choices.
Ballot complete, I smoothed an “I Voted” sticker on my sweater, grateful I live in a nation where the transition of power comes with the stroke of a pen.