Where will you be on September 8th?
Are you one of those rare creatures who votes in every election since you got the right to vote, either by coming of age or by getting your citizenship?
Then I thank you, and you need not stay with me to read this column. “You deserve a break,” as the advertising slogan goes, and I hereby hope you go out and give yourself a well-deserved treat.
Now then, for the rest of you: What is so very important, so very time-consuming, so very demanding of your time, that you, a registered voter in Worcester, cannot make the time to exercise one of the most fundamental duties and privileges of living in a democracy?!!
You say: I forgot!
But there are so many reminders all about the day: lawn signs, ads on the TV and radio, phone calls from campaigns for the candidates, knocks on your door, signs being held at intersections – so many reminders in so many places that you would have to be brain dead not to notice.
You say you are so busy you cannot make the time.
Polls are open for 13 (yes, 13!!!) hours – and very few of you out there work 13 hours on a Tuesday!
You say you have no transportation.
Most of the candidates offer transportation … or perhaps you are friends with a neighbor or co-worker who votes and would gladly take you to the polls.
You say you don’t know the candidates because you have not been following the news and don’t know what they do, or plan to do.
At each polling place, we post a ballot listing all the candidates. Come a few minutes early and peruse those sample ballots.
You say you don’t speak English, or you don’t speak it very well.
Our ballots are printed in English and Spanish, and you are allowed to bring along an interpreter, if you need one.
You say you have a disability – cannot see well, cannot hear well, are wheelchair-bound, or are in some other way limited in the performance of this duty: but at every polling place there are special provisions for you so you can vote in comfort and ease.
I have been a warden at a polling place for many, many years. I know that everything has been done to make voting easy, fast, and comfortable. Let me take you on a “virtual“ tour of my precinct poll: We get there by 6:30 a.m. ( I have to be there by 6 a.m.); we put up signs identifying what ward and precinct we are, mark the handicapped entrance, put up sample ballots and other instructions for voters, set up two tables (one to check you in, the other to check you out.)The booths have been set up the previous night, and as soon as the policeman assigned to us arrives with the ballots, the voting machine, and all the papers we need to perform our jobs, we are set up. We are very fortunate that our site is located at Dodge Park Rest Home, as we enjoy the many conveniences provided by the owners.
Everything has been done to make voting in Worcester quick, efficient, accurate and pleasant.
So why isn’t every registered voter in our city doing his/her duty?
It’s the least we all can do to show appreciation for the privilege of voting.