Guess what? I voted today!
Over the last few weeks I have tried to envision what is going to go through my head when I show up to the polls to vote. Friday, October 21st was marked on my calendar as the day that I was probably going to be able to early vote. I figured that when I showed up at the polling place, I might reminisce over all of the political experiences that I have had over the last ten months. Maybe I would think about one of the many places I traveled with the Wake the Vote cohort. Or maybe I would remember what it was like to walk the halls of Capitol Hill as an intern this past June. Also, the possibility ran through my head that I might have a last second change of heart and want to reconsider who I was going vote for.
The crazy thing is that when I drove over to the Morrison Branch library to vote today, none of these things crossed my mind. The only thing that I thought about as I drove over to the polling place was the reason that I was really excited about voting. In a year with such unpopular candidates, I was excited to vote because I knew how much voting meant to my late grandfather, Arthur “Buck” Jones.
Buck was born in Canada in 1921 and immigrated to the United States at the age of four, where he became a naturalized citizen. When his country called on him to serve, he joined the Navy to fight in World War II. After the war ended, he went to college on the GI Bill and earned a degree from the University of Florida. The story that I thought about as I drove up to the polling place was of Buck voting in the 2000 election.
Buck had quadruple bypass surgery in late October of 2000, right before Election Day. Even though his family and doctors encouraged him to stay in bed, he was not going to let this surgery prevent him from voting. The right to vote was something that he had fought to defend and he did not take it lightly. So on Election Day, he called up his friend and said “come pick me up from the hospital, I need to go vote!” Buck rode to the polling place in his district in Duval County, Florida and cast his vote for George W. Bush. Later it was determined that Bush won Florida (and the election) by 537 votes.
So today, it was an honor for me to get to vote in a Presidential election for the first time. I’m sure that Buck has been rolling over in his grave at the thought of Clinton or Trump as the President of the United States, but I know that today he was smiling down from heaven as two of his grandchildren voted for the first time.