You Gotta Vote illustration by Amy McCoy

YAY Voting!

I love voting. I really do. 


Way back in the late 1970s, eight year-old me had the audacity to announce that I would become the first woman president. I remember the moms at the swim club all laughing - there for it, perhaps, but still pretty gobsmacked at the idea. 42 years later, now I see why. Womp womp. Sadness.  


At 8 years old, I, of course, had no idea that only 4 years earlier women had finally gotten the green light to get their own credit cards (thank you, RBG), or that the ERA was so controversial. When you check out the history of women’s rights, it’s a pretty depressing story - still - but at that age, I had no idea that women were being told that we weren’t the ass-kicking bosses that we so clearly are. Plenty of space for everyone to be a boss, friends, plenty of space for us all. 


So, even without knowing the hurdles to becoming the first woman president of the United States, perhaps I should have gone to law school, but by 1983, I had tossed my dreams of the presidency aside and decided that I wanted to be an MTV veejay (An obvious switch, I know. And maybe I should have actually done this job? It *could* have led to the presidency, no?). 


This whole VJ dream (and the thousands of hours logged watching giant-haired musicians' music videos) eventually led to me studying film production at Syracuse University. At least those two things are somewhat connected. Right on with some sort of follow through! 


Though swayed from my political career path by those mavens of music videos, Nina Blackwood and Martha Quinn - and by my love of music - I didn’t lose interest in politics and the impact government has on our lives, and, especially, the lives of people who are not well off or who are marginalized.


I could NOT WAIT to vote once I turned 18. I mean, I was STOKED. Stoked like I had scored backstage passes to a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers show.


During my senior year at Syracuse, Bill Clinton campaigned on the Quad, and I stood no more than 10 feet from him, listening to him talk. I felt the same way about him that many felt about Barack Obama, I think (myself included, and obviously not including the excitement at the possibility of electing our first African-American president). Clinton was young, full of energy, positivity, and I was stoked (STOKED!) to cast my ballot for him later that year. 


As you may imagine, I have voted in every Presidential race since I was 18. I vote all the time. Give me a midterm election! I heart midterms! I vote in local elections, too. Have you got a special ballot question? I’d LOVE to vote on it. In fact - and yes, you do know what I’m going to say by now - I’m STOKED. Cannot wait to vote on the special ballot question! Woohoo! 


The town where we live sometimes has terrible turnout in our local elections, midterms, and on those special ballot questions. I should accept it by now - not everyone loves voting like I do, I understand - but I’m always stunned when I see a low turnout on the ticker for those races. It makes me feel totally unstoked. New word. It’s 2020, we can make up new words if we want. 


This past week, we drove to town hall to drop off our absentee ballots. I parked, put my mask on (of course!), and started walking across the parking lot. The Town Clerk was outside, with her mask on, working at a picnic table just outside the main entrance. 


“Are you here to vote,” she asked.


“I am!” (sounding stoked, naturally.)


“Okay, just put your ballot in that red, white, and blue box there, I’m picking ‘em up in a few minutes.”


“Thank you!”


“Thank you for voting,” she said.


Now, I’m a grown-ass woman, but I thrust my arms up in the air and yelled “YAYYYYYYYYY VOTING!!!”


And then our Town Clerk put her hands up over her head as though her voting dreams had also come true, and yelled “YAYYYYYYYYY VOTING!” back at me. 


YES! YAYYYYYY VOTING!!! Ah! It’s just SO great!


Now, you may not love voting as much as I do, but I DO hope that you’ll get out and vote, whether in person or by dropping off your absentee ballot asap. 


Even if you live in a state where you think your vote doesn’t count, it’s SO important to be counted. The more the merrier. That’s how this whole democracy thing stays alive. And I hope that once your ballot is cast, you’ll do some sort of wild cheering thing with your arms and yell, “YAYYYYYYYYY VOTING!!!”


xoxo!

You Gotta Vote YAYYYYY Voting! Illustration by Amy McCoy

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