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Not that you asked: Growing up with election day

Growing up in the late 1950s and the 1960s, election day was something close to a real holiday in my household. For one, we had the day off from school, which made any day special. My mother, who didn't have a job other than her volunteer pursuits in our Bethesda community and church, went to "work" on election day with her fellow members of the League of Women Voters. She got up while we were sleeping, dressed in a black business-style dress (with pearls; she's from Atlanta) and packed a modest lunch and jar of iced tea and headed to my junior high to work at the polls for the entire day. My dad had moved to Washington from Alabama after the war to start a PR firm on Capitol Hill, and many of his clients were those names on the ballots. Depending on the outcome of the election day, Dad might not have a job if his candidate lost, so election day was also a bit somber (sadly, many of those candidates did lose over the years).

I can remember vividly the late-spring afternoon I registered to vote. For some reason, voting registration tables were set up in my high school about a month before I graduated in 1973. I can recall the conversation I had with the person that helped me fill out the form. Funny, I don't remember applying for a driver's license, barely remember getting our marriage license and don't recall filling out job or college applications. But when I inked my name on that form and choose my party affiliation, I knew I was doing something that was important, something that made me part of a bigger institution: the voting public.

Except for the Republican presidential race, today's primary election won't decide much, unlike some past primaries in this overwhelmingly Democratic state. But to me it was a holiday, and I voted.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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