The first time I was old enough to vote was in college. It was 1990, and I suspect there was a congressional race going on in Minnesota. The college I went to was run by the Order of St. Benedict – the women’s branch.
So imagine this: I know nothing about politics. I’m rather apathetic that way. I am 18 or 19, and really a lot more interested in trying to figure out how to get my hands on a fake ID so I can sneak into the local bars than knowing who’s running to represent me in the House of Representatives. And there is this nun, trying to corral me into the basement of one of the dorms, SHAMING me into voting.
I didn’t vote again for years – the trauma of that nun, admonishing me, stayed with me until library school. And then I took a course in government documents librarianship, and it clicked. I’ve voted in nearly every election since that one.
Voting in Louisiana was great because of all the laws requiring everyone and their wacky pamphleteering aunt to stay at least 100 yards away from polling places. No pressure, just me, the old folks running the polling machines, and my vote. In Pennsylvania, however, I have to run a gauntlet of people shoving "literature" at me until I’m physically in the building. I hate that – every time I vote here I feel less like I’m exercising my civic duty and mroe like I’ve been assaulted by the electioneering mafia.