Our Lowered Standards

I’ve voted in a lot of elections in my lifetime, but I’ve never had a more disappointing experience voting than the one I had this past election in North Carolina. It shows just how far our standards have dropped, and how far we have come from what the founding fathers envisioned as “our most sacred privilege.”

When I walked into the polling place, it was dark and dingy. There weren’t enough voting booths, so people were scattered around the walls at tables and pretty much anywhere they could find a seat: except that the chairs were child-size, which were too low for my 88-year-old mother to use. I had never seen people voting en masse outside voting booths before, so I said something to the polling place officials to the effect that I thought that was illegal. I had also never seen people sharing booths before, which they were.

Once a voting booth became available, I was in there filling out my ballot, when one of the officials suddenly appeared IN the booth with me and started explaining something to me. I said, “I don’t know about that, but I KNOW that you are not supposed to be in here with me, looking at my ballot!” She sheepishly excused herself.

This level of “looseness” in a polling place is unacceptable. Voting is our most sacred privilege, and it deserves a certain level of discipline and honor. In this polling place, it was being treated like a chore or an everyday event. In our nation’s past, voting day was considered a time of celebration and holiday. Have we sunk so low that it is now just another day? Can we waste $100 million on a campaign for Senate but cannot spend the time and money to make our polling places right? For the first time in a long time, I was ashamed of my state and town.

When we lower our standards, we open the door to corruption. Can anyone honestly tell me that there is not a connection between our lowered standards and the corruption we read about in the newspaper every day? I think there is. In a time when there are so many things that are not working, why don’t we make sure that our voting process IS working right. Why don’t we treat our voting privilege with the dignity it deserves?

Waitsel Smith

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Kathy Plowman January 13, 2015, 5:18 PM

    This is one of the saddest stories I have read in a long time, Waitsel. I’m going to check with my local election office to see what opportunities exist to be a poll monitor or election assistant or volunteer — whatever they need to be sure this privilege is protected in my little corner of the world. Our hard won right to vote is not an opportunity to be taken for granted. Regards, Kathy

  • Waitsel Smith January 13, 2015, 5:57 PM

    Glad to hear that, Kathy. Then writing this article was worth it.

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