This morning on our show, we played some clips from election days past. When I heard Jimmy Carter's concession from 1980, I immediately flashed back to voting with my dad. Rather, going with my dad while he voted. I had just turned nine.
We walked into the polling place – I think it was Yorktown's town hall. I went behind the curtain with my dad while he cast his vote and pulled the lever (remember when we had levers?). I asked him who he voted for, expected him to say Reagan or Carter. Instead, he said he'd voted for somebody named John Anderson.
Anderson, of course, was running as an independent that year. I asked my dad why he'd voted for someone I'd never heard of. He said, "He needs my vote." I'm sure he gave me more of an explanation, but that's the one that sticks.
I love that. I got so many great lessons about voting from my dad that day. I've never been afraid to vote for an independent, unaffiliated or third party candidate. I love the feeling that the candidate I'm selecting actually needs my one vote. And I never miss a vote.
It helps that my grandmother usually calls me on or near election day. I'll probably beat her to it later today – I owe her a call. She'll be 90 later this month and she's always told me and my sister – and probably all my cousins – how important it is to vote. I'm sure it's a message she heard from her parents. They fled Czarist Russia nearly 100 years ago to come to America. I think about them on election day too. Of course, my great-grandfather was an avowed socialist, so I can't say I usually do him proud with my vote.
This year I voted early for the first time. I have mixed feelings about that recent addition to the process, but it was convenient. Went to the library one Saturday afternoon with Slade and the kids, no line, voted easily and took out some books as well. Lea even voted in the Kids Vote they have this year.
We'll have wall to wall coverage today and through the night at WBT of course. If you're looking for something a little bit lighter – or trying to pass the time while you wait in line to vote today – check out this quiz. Full of funny stuff from both sides of the aisle. I also love this old column from the authors of Freakonomics, although you might not want to vote once you read it! I'd urge you to do so anyway.
Happy election day!