Election Memories

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I’m working again this election; which should be my biggest yet to work, since I’ve never worked a presidential election before. Being in a minor battleground state makes it even more exciting.

I have a lot of fond memories of past elections. My earliest in memory was 1988, when I was in kindergarten. While I don’t remember election day itself, I remember playing with a mock polling place (maybe at the chidren’s museum?) and voting for George Bush because I liked his name best. I was so thrilled that I ended up “voting” for the winner!

I don’t really have any specific memories of 1992′s election, but 1996 stands out because a Kansan was running. That year–I was in 8th grade–I remember sitting in my room, listening to election coverage on the radio. I had no idea that Bob Dole wasn’t really expected to win…I had thought that he’d be the best and was disappointed when most Americans didn’t agree. I think I can trace my political interests back to this election.

Of course, I can’t negate the steps my mom took to make elections appealing to my brother and me. Every election–even the small ones–my mom would take us to the poles with her before school, and then take us to get donuts. While I did generally enjoy going to the election place, donuts were (and still are, a bit) the way to my heart. This turned elections into a bit of a holiday, something to look forward to.

I was profoundly disappointed that I was 6 weeks too young to vote in the 2000 election. Still, I was taking government that semester, so I had more than one reason to be paying attention to the election. One of our projects was to put together an election book. The cover was to have a map of the states, colored by which candidate the state had voted for. The project was due the next day, and we were all worried that we would get in trouble if all the states weren’t filled in. We had no idea that several wouldn’t be decided until the last days of our class!

In 2004, my time had finally come to vote for a presidential candidate. Voting is always something I have taken seriously, so when my parents (along with my permanent address) moved in October that year…just in time to re-register at their new place, but not with enough time to request an absentee ballot as well, I knew that I couldn’t just not┬ávote. I drove the 3 hours to their house the night before and voted at the earliest hour to get back in time for some of my classes later that day. I thought nothing of missing a quiz in one of my classes that morning and proudly told my professor why I would be missing it. I didn’t even think she would give me an automatic 100% on the quiz…I was fine taking a zero for a good cause.

That night I should have gone to bed early (do you know how early 6 AM voting is for a college student?), but I didn’t. Instead, I stayed up late in one of the TV lounges in my dorm to follow the coverage, hoping for a declared winner before going to bed. I don’t remember how late I stayed up, but it must have been late because I remember being the last one up and around (and this was in a dorm where Burger King stayed open until 5 AM).

The 2008 presidential election cycle were my first elections in North Carolina. It was weird getting used to the little things that are different state to state (what, paper ballots?). I was glad that I didn’t have to stay up so late to see the results and will never forget the moment I saw Obama and his family take the stage to except the presidential nomination. I don’t care what you believe politically; the first African American US president is history making.

Not sure what memories I will be making this year. I’m sure I’ll come home tonight exhausted but greatly interested in the outcome of the election.

What’s your biggest election memory?

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