Bless her heart, she did the best that she could do, and I loved her for it.

I’m not a native Alabamian, but after 20 years I just know that’s what you say when someone is doing his or her best in a situation.  Bless her heart. Or, as is probably more often the case, bless his heart.

It’s voting day–Super Tuesday–in Alabama, and a number of primary races are of course being decided.  Like many citizens, I do my best to get to the polls, even for minor races. This year’s elections, without getting into politics, aren’t minor in my humble opinion (I do my best to have one of those), but let’s not go down that road.

Anyway, in Alabama we have a paper ballot voting system.  No caucuses, no electronic voting machines, no smartphone apps: We vote on paper.  We’re not backwards, though–votes are counted electronically. For the record, I like the paper copy that really can’t be miscounted if you try hard enough.  

Okay, where was I?  Right, bless her heart.

It’s a secret ballot in my state, but getting the ballot isn’t part of the secret.  You have to say which ballot you want for a primary: Democratic or Republican. 

Now, states are oftentimes labeled with a color, and conventional wisdom has Alabama as a deep shade of red.  Crimson, even (see what I did there?). I’m not going to necessarily tell you how I voted, but I knew when I asked for my ballot I’d be taking one from the stack that still had plenty left.  

The first clerk, that dear woman in my case, gives you a ticket that you take to pick up your actual ballot from a second clerk. She–and really, she was awesome–did her absolute best to pull the ticket that I would need from the appropriate pad as discreetly as possible. Perhaps a bit too discreetly, as for a minute I wondered if I was going to have to give the code word before I could take it from her hand.  It honestly seemed to pain her that my party choice would be revealed to the assembled crowd, modest as it was. She was protecting my vote, and as I said before, I loved her for it.

That, my friends, is a snapshot of what America is all about.

If you have the chance to vote–and the vast majority of us do–please do so.  It matters. 


8 thoughts on “Voting”

  1. I can picture her “discreetly” passing you your ballot. Bless her heart! In Michigan, we use a similar system, our day to vote is next Tuesday.


  2. I used to love voting in person. The pomp and circumstance. The civic togetherness. But you’ve made me glad that, in my state, we do nearly all our voting by mail now. You captured all of the overlooked meaning a that moment often holds, if we care to notice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is something good to actually get together to vote. In today’s climate it’s just different, though. I did a little people watching while I was there yesterday, and was interested to see the look of almost defiance on some people’s faces. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh my gosh, Tim, I love this. You capture the community of voters, the democratic spirit. Have you seen this video clip? Colbert explains about “bless your heart” and Warren plays along. I thought of you immediately!

    Liked by 1 person

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